Most people look at the symptoms of sexual lust without ever really understanding the roots. Like your health, simply taking a painkiller to relieve your headache will only ensure one thing – more headaches. As hydration could be the cure for your headaches, uncovering the underlying issues of lust prevents it from coming back. More importantly, if you believe that you have an enemy, and he is seeking to kill and destroy you – there is no better tactic for him than to have you pour all your effort into an endless cycle of symptom management. Which, if you will, only creates repeat business for him and ensures a cycle of frustration for you. Women, feel free to jump to here.
NATURAL DESIRES vs THE COUNTERFIT
While I may not be the most qualified, my life has lead a story that can empathize and understand the roots so many struggle with. My first consistent exposure to pornography started when I was two, and from there the pedal was never let off. With the internet now available at our fingertips, and the proliferation of sexual marketing tactics – as a society, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. I say setting up, because we are wired with a deep sexual appetite longing to be fulfilled. When that appetite is experienced too early, or in the wrong form, course correcting is harder than kicking a heroin addiction. You are wired for deep intimacy, love, and sexual oneness! To be fully exposed and fully loved, to give everything of yourself in return for everything of someone else. Our counterfeit versions have created a dependency on the false in exchange for short-term fulfillment, which actually is never fulfilled.
Once that door has been opened, it’s a heavy one to swing shut. It’s interesting that the only sin the Bible instructs us to “run” from is sexual immorality. Why is that, why are we called to ‘stand’, ‘resist’ and ‘hold fast’ against other temptations, but to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18)? I believe, when the battlefield is covered in oil, running the other direction is the wise approach. It’d be foolish to run down that slippery slope vs finding solid ground to take hold of to advance against your enemy on. Most people fool themselves into thinking they won’t slip and a little sip from the lust flask does no harm not realizing they are like a deer walking into a noose, as Solomon would say.
So while the best tactic is to flee and/or never open that door, what happens if the door was opened for you or forced onto you?
Today there are more slaves alive THAN EVER IN HISTORY, MOST OF WHOM ARE SLAVES IN THE SEX TRAFFICKING TRADE! This is a much bigger issue than pornography and fornication. Understanding how these symptoms lead to things like trafficking is important, yet before we go there, we must first understand our own root issues so that we do not simply keep pulling the lizards tail off hoping it won’t grow back.
Besides my own previous struggle with pornography and sexual immorality, I now find myself in on average of five conversations a week with people actively struggling in this area. During my journey in those conversations, and in taking time to ask the Holy Spirit – “what do you see in all this” I have found a few things along the way.
While this will not be a 1:1 for every reader, it can be thought of as a framework on how understanding and uncover your own underlying root causes. However, for many men in particular, this will be a 1:1 – the combination of stress and boredom create a cocktail so toxic it can trip up even the greatest of saints.
In one day the average American is exposed to more information than previous generations entire lifetime. Not only does the volume of things we’re exposed to each day create stress, in a globalized world with the power of the internet, we not only need stress and worry about the fire in the forest our house backs up to – we can now worry about every world problem our fellow human also suffers. Don’t get me wrong, empathizing and doing something to end our world’s epidemics is critical. But, worrying about things we have no control over, or as Matthew says, worry in general has no value. All that to say – our stress is higher than it’s ever been and science would back that up if you’re still not convinced through your own personal experience.
Bored, how could anyone be bored when they are running around worrying about the rest of the world’s problems? Well, most of us are not physically bored – but emotionally and mentally, well, we’re extremely bored! What takes the lion share of our capacity is deeply unfulfilling and boring to our heart and soul.
STRESS & BOREDOM
Once that toxic cocktail of stress and boredom hit your bloodstream your sub-conscience starts looking for something to de-stress and excite you. At that point, it only takes one bad advertisement to come across any one of your screens, and the rest is history.
GOING AFTER THE ROOTS
Since we’re starting to discover these roots, let’s take a trip further down ‘root road’. What does it look like to find pleasure and passion in the boring and stressful places in your life? First, let’s clarify what “passion” actually means since most people highly misuse and misunderstand what it means. Most assume it means ‘a strong desire or feeling to care deeply about something’. However, the original root definition of passion is “the willingness to suffer for something one loves” thus “the passion of Christ”.
So, what are you passionate about? I’d bet you’re actually passionate about the things that matter most like your family. Interestingly enough, many people may not realize that what seems like stress and boredom are reflections of their passion in action. Maybe it’s taking that job that doesn’t satisfy your heart in order to provide for your family. Maybe it’s taking on an extra project for your sick neighbor which adds 20 hours to a week that is already 40 hours overbooked. Whatever it may be, it’s important to understand that many of the things seemingly causing your boredom and stress are the tangible substance of your passion (willingness to suffer for something you love) for the things that matter most in life. That’s why you’re willing to show up, day after day, engaging in the hard things your heart may find boring or stressful.
TURNING BOREDOM AND STRESS INTO A WEAPON
Remembering that very passion can transform your boredom and stress into pure delight, and more importantly, you’re now starting to uncover the root places your passions get hijacked looking for relief. With that, you can now turn the boring stressful things into blessings and reminders of the reason you feel those things to begin with. Allowing you to further the impact you are making on the things you’re most passionate about.
Men who are stress free and living a life of purpose are typically within a safe distance of the traps of lust, myself included.
Many of us put too much value on our career mistaking it as purpose, for this a historical perspective is needed. Most of history and still a big portion of the world today has had no deep meaning associated with their work career – it’s actually a true means of survival. YET! God still called us to till the land and co-create with Him way before “finding a job that fits your lifestyle and interests'” were ever part of our cultural understanding of work. The shoe factory worker and sewage cleaner are both called to the same glory and co-creation as us. Understand what you’re passionate about and allow that to provide fulfillment and satisfaction for you in the areas of your life that used to trip you up.
GO AFTER THE ROOT
Let me say it again, go after the root! Cut it out and don’t look back. Learn to wield your stress and boredom into perspective. Then, turn it into, as Paul says, “pure joy my friends”!
You’ve got this, don’t get distracted by the smoke and mirrors of the symptoms, get to the root!
PS – Ladies, you’re not off the hook. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t fully understand women’s root issues, but I do understand their statistics. Women account for one-third of all online pornography consumption and 113% more likely to search and view hardcore genres than men. Therefore, while the roots of your lust may not be outlined above, I do hope this provides a framework on how to find your own root causes and thus worth the read above.