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Triumph Over Lust


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Notice: The following is a long article, so you may wish to print it out, find a comfortable chair, and read it off-line.

Triumph Over Lust

Suppressing a thought only reinforces it.  It gives it energy.  That's the first reason that trying harder to be self-controlled is a waste of energy.  We can grit our teeth for only so long.

     Ted Roberts - Pure Desire

Many sincere Christians quietly and shamefully suffer in despair over their struggle with sexual lust.  Pastors who have preached on the evils of pornography and sexual sin have become media headlined victims of what they preached against.  Prostitution and pornography businesses increase when Christian conferences or conventions come into cities.  Even with much prayer, trying their best to resist temptation, Christian counseling, and support groups, etc. victory over sexual lust seems (for many Christians) to be elusive.

No one can be completely free from sin apart from Christ.  But, in Christ many have victoriously triumphed over lust.  So why aren't more Christians doing that?  Get ready for a jolt…

Scripture says that we reap what we sow, behavioral science backs this truth up.  The reason more Christians aren't gaining victory over lust is that the beliefs most Christians have been taught and are sowing about the human body feed the sin nature, not the spirit, making the struggle with lust and sin worse, not better!! 

Still with me?  Good.  The Bible says we are the crowning masterpiece of God's creation.  Our bodies are part of that masterpiece, yet this culture says the nude human body is indecent!  We've been taught to believe that what is outside (a body) causes lust, not what is inside (sin).  Unfortunately beliefs can be more powerful than truth, so true or not, we will act on what we believe.  We reap what we sow.  As you read this article you may find that some deeply held beliefs you have contribute to your struggle with lust and need to be discarded.  I challenge you to discard them and replace them with truth about God’s wonderful creation.

Most Christians have been blinded to the fact that our loving God and father did not and would not create something indecent that would cause His dearly loved children to lust and sin.  What God created He proclaimed to be very good, and it is.  However, since most Christians believe that it is nudity, and not sin which causes our problem, they don’t respond to nudity in a good, pure, or Godly way.

Many believe that what we take in through our eyes programs our minds, and that is largely true, yet it’s not just what we see it’s how we see it (what our perceptions of it are) that truly program our minds.  If someone’s been taught that hammers are used to destroy things, that’s what they will think of when seeing one.  If others have been taught hammers are used to build things, that’s what they will think of when seeing one.  It’s not nudity itself that causes people to lust when seeing it.  It the perception that nudity, is indecent, obscene, shameful, pornographic and sexual that causes the lust.

Unlike other countries, in the U.S. virtually the only way nudity is seen is in a sexual context, via pornography, movies, and television.  Given this, is it merely a coincidence that we also have some of the highest rates for rape, sexual assault/abuse, and teenage pregnancy in the world.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  When nudity is consigned only to sex and pornography so that people don't associate it with other things such as swimming, sports, relaxation, working, comfort, etc. there are going to be harmful and ungodly consequences.  Asking someone who struggles with lust to live in a society that associates nudity only with sex is like inviting an alcoholic to live in a bar.  No wonder many Christians are having problems!

In more recent years even the innocent nudity of children has come to be viewed as pornographic.  Have you ever heard of B.F. Skinner and his programming of dogs?  Initially, every time a dog was given food a bell would ring.  Through this the dogs soon associated the bell with food and would start to salivate when the bell rang, whether there was food or not.  As innocent child nudity is more and more considered harmful and called pornography the consequences of this will be more horrifically ungodly and harmful to children.  The rates of child sex abuse are currently growing, not shrinking and as long as children’s innocent nudity is perceived as harmful and pornographic instead of innocent, pure, wholesome freedom the rates for child sex abuse will continue to grow!

Pornography and nudity are not the same.  Pornography exploits and perverts nudity and sex, it demeans and cheapens both.  It is unrealistic, exploitative, erotically posed and oriented, stimulating ungodly sexual fantasies in those who view it.  It takes what God meant to be a deeply personal and beautiful expression of love and makes it an impersonal and cheap source of self-gratification.  YES, as long as there is sin there will be interest in pornography, even if non-sexual nudity was commonplace and accepted.  However when non-sexual nudity is not accepted, thereby making pornography the most accessible way that people see nudity, it greatly compounds our struggle with sexual lust.

We can loosen the destructive grip of lust by changing how we view (and respond to) nudity.  Suppression doesn't work.  Suppressing thoughts only reinforce them and give them energy.  Examples of this abound such as an experiment where researchers asked collage students not to think of a white polar bear.  They told the students that “If you happen to slip and think of a white polar bear, we’ve given you this little button to push while we talk for the next 30 minutes.” 1.  Those students nearly wore the buttons out!  Trying to suppress a natural interest only provides an open door for that interest to become perverted and for something harmful (like pornography) to take root.  That interest needs to be satisfied in a healthy and wholesome way.

A gentleman who has been doing some research on pornography, wrote this to me: "So far, anyone I've asked about their history with pornography who claim an 'addiction to pornography,' have all told me that they grew up in backgrounds where it was forbidden for them to view nudity.  As a result, these people seem to now have the compulsion to digest hoards of the material and can't seem to get enough of it." 

He continued by saying: "I have also had the opportunity to know a great deal of people who were "never" sequestered from being able to view nudity, and who now could care less about pornography.  I'm one of those people along with my brothers and sisters."  It is only when nudity is associated with sex and pornography and little to nothing else that it (by itself) arouses lustful thoughts.  This is the situation in the U.S. today among most Christians, causing them to view what God created (and said is very good) as sinful and indecent.

According to one of the world's top authorities on sexual abnormalities, the majority of patients with deviant sexual fantasies and behaviors "described a strict anti-sexual upbringing in which sex was either never mentioned or was actively repressed or defiled." (2)  Hugh Hefner says that he came from a repressive home, other pornographers and worse have said the same.

What if you truly believed Scripture when it says that ALL God made is very good, that we were made with glory and honor, that all God’s works are great, wonderful, and pure, that it is not wise to call what God said is good, evil, that God knew what He was doing, and we should not talk back to him about it?! What if you truly believed that your body and those all of Christians are God’s Holy Temple? (Scripture references for the above: Gen. 1:31, 1 Tim 4:4, Psalm 8:4,5, Psalm 92:4,5, Psalm 139:14, Titus 1:15,16, Isa. 5:20, Luke 11:34, Rom. 14:16, Isa. 29:16, Isa. 45:9-12, Rom. 9:20, 1st Cor. 3:16,17, 1st Cor. 6:19,20, 2nd Cor.6:16)

What if (with this foundation of belief) you experienced a broader context of nudity?  What if things like sports, swimming, camping, working and relaxing around the house and yard, a day at the park, etc. were far more commonly associated with nudity in your life than sex or pornography?  Would it be possible that you could have healthier, more positive, and Godly attitudes toward the human body and struggle less with sexual lust? 

God’s truth is universal and in the same way that rain falls on the just and the unjust, truth applies equally as well.  Among both Christians and non-Christians, European countries (that are accepting of non-sexual nudity) and nudists have proven that it is possible and real.  Many adults have been freed from addiction to pornography and the struggle with sexual lust, (or found the struggle to be greatly reduced) after being introduced to non-sexual, social nudity and learning to see nudity in a broader, non-sexual, and more positive context.

Children who grow up in homes where nudity is common and NEVER sexualized have very little to no interest in pornography to begin with!  They also have higher self-esteem, and a much more balanced and healthy outlook on the body and sex then children who where raised in homes were non-sexual nudity wasn't accepted and common, or where nudity was highly sexualized.  Developing positive, wholesome attitudes about the body in children, gives parents far more opportunity to positively shape their children's values about sex as well. 

Can you understand why treating nudity as indecent and the cause of lust is destructive, wrong, and the result of false beliefs or preconceptions?  Can you see how redirecting our attitudes and actions toward positive acceptance of non-sexual nudity can help develop a more balanced, Godly, and healthy outlook on the body and sex?  Or how comfort with non-sexual nudity defuses lust and the attraction to pornography? 

I am very aware that this view of nudity greatly contrasts the beliefs most Christians hold.  However, after seeking Lord and studying this for many years, I've come to a deep conviction that the predominate "Christian" belief that "nudity causes or instigates lust" is a lie, wrong, destructive, and sinful.  I've seen the harm that negative attitudes about the body cause.  We all have.  It is heartbreaking that God’s masterpiece of creation is considered indecent and a source of lust by so many who call themselves Christian. 

I deeply believe the main reason people can't gain victory over lust, even with much prayer, counseling, and support groups, is because they keep holding on to this destructive belief that nudity (by itself) is indecent and instigates lust.  They see the human body (that God created) as the source of the problem instead of realizing that it is our sinful nature and how Satan (or the world) directs our thoughts about the body that is the source of this problem.

Dr. James C. Dobson’s Focus on the Family has an excellent site called that is designed to address online sexual temptation.  I agree with most of what this wonderful site says, what disturbs me is where it stops short.  In an article called “Bold Next Steps” the author says:

“Viewing pornography is like digging trenches in the mind and filling it with junk. God can restore and remove the junk and we can stop filling the trenches with more junk. But I believe there is another element. We need to fill the trenches with positive and godly stuff. A heart committed to Christ and a mind soaking in the things of Christ provides powerful, life-changing energy. My first recommendation is to fill your mind with the things of God.”

“The Bible is a great place to start.  Christian music, devotional material, Christian magazines, regular attendance at worship services, joining a small group and reading Christian books, are also important. Doing things will NOT bring about healing--only God heals. However, making use of wonderful Christian resources can provide power and can assist in filling the trenches in our minds.”

I agree with this, as far as it goes, the problem is via pornography a persons mind is filled with unwholesome, junky images of nudity.  The human body is a wonderful thing of God; both clothed AND nude.  As important as Christian music, devotional material, etc. are they do nothing to directly replace unwholesome, perverted, junky images of nude bodies with positive, wholesome, pure, Godly images of nude bodies.  The wrong images of nudity need to be replaced with right images of nudity (placed on a foundation of Godly thinking about the human body); they can’t be effectively replaced by something else!

The last statement in another article on the Pure Intimacy site called “Subtle Dangers of Pornography” says:

In the book, Men Confront Pornography, Michael S. Kimmel maintains that pornography is one of the major sources of sexual information that young males have about sexuality and is therefore the central mechanism by which their sexuality has been constructed. "Men can no longer hide behind pornography as harmless fun."

I could not possibly agree with the above statement anymore, the problem again is where it stops!  The reason “pornography is one of the major sources of information that young males have about sexuality” is that there are few if any WHOLESOME opportunities for them to fulfill their strong natural interest in the nude human form.  There is also very little positive and open communication in this society (but mostly between parents and children) regarding sex.  This leaves a void, if the void is not filled in a positive Godly way it leaves a wide opening to be filled in destructive and ungodly ways!

I am thankful to God that I have learned to view nudity in a far more Godly and wholesome way (and have therefore struggled less with lust) than many in this society.  Will comfort with non sexual nudity totally eliminate sexual lust in your life?  Perhaps not, as we are still living in a world where sin is active.  What it can do is greatly reduce your struggle in this area.  If you believe and act in harmony with what God said about His creation that it is good, wonderful, and pure, etc.  If what you sow is that the human body is good, wonderful, and pure, etc. that is what you can reap. You will struggle with lust far less than if you believe and act as if nudity is indecent, obscene, pornographic, etc.

If this article has challenged you, I pray you will seek further information, rather than simply continuing to accept your pre established assumptions and beliefs.  If you wish to seek further information there are more articles regarding Christian attitudes toward the body and shame, with many Scriptural references here on this site (, as well as links to other good informational resources.

May God richly bless you.
David Blood
Founder -

Important Links

If this article has benefited and/or challenged you I highly encourage you to go to the Fellowship Bible Church's web site and read more on how non-sexual nudity can help you triumph over lust at the links below. 

The Bondage of Pornography and Porn Free: Breaking the Bondage

A couple real stories from people who have broken the bondage of pornography at the same web site: 
Finally a Free Man
Dan's Story

1. Source: “Suppress Now, Obsess Later,”  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 53, p. 5-13
2. Source: Love Maps, John Money, 1986 Irvine Publishers

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