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Carts, Parts, Hearts

The remedy to lust is about eating more.

I enjoy grocery shopping—perusing the aisles, reading ingredients, imagining delicious foods to make and eat and share around the table with those I love. But when I head to the store on an empty stomach, something goes awry. I lose perspective and end up buying too much food and usually more unhealthy food at that.

So I’ve learned to always eat something healthy and substantial before I go shopping.

To deal effectively with lust, you have to do something similar.

The temptation to lust comes because you’re hungry. Whether you’re tempted by pornography, stolen glances at body parts, or romantic storylines, whether heterosexual or homosexual in nature; whatever the temptation, lust promises to fill you up through sexual pleasure. But it doesn’t work.

“Hell and Abaddon are never full, nor are the eyes of sinful man” (Proverbs 27:20).

Lust can’t fill you because it doesn’t understand what you’re really hungry for.

You’re hungry for love.

If you want freedom from lust, you need to receive more love. If you struggle a great deal with lust, you need to receive a great deal of love. This may feel counter-intuitive. Lust makes you feel less worthy of love. Habitual sexual sin leaves you feeling less like anyone who knows this part of your life could really love you substantially. But there is no other way. Lust is only expelled as something greater comes in.

The wealthy don’t search the floor for loose coins. The well-fed don’t dig through trashcans looking for food. And the person who is filled with love doesn’t lust.

If you struggle with lust, ask Jesus to reveal your deeper hungers, and take them to the cross, where true love flows from Him who is Love. Join the communion of saints around the table. Receive His loving invitation to you: Take, eat, and drink.

Only love can fill you substantially to trump the temptation to lust. Love and only love is food enough.

What do you think? Have you ever experienced love in such a way that the temptation to lust diminished? What helps you receive this kind of love?  Leave a comment below.

Cutting my shopping time,

5 thoughts on “Carts, Parts, Hearts”

  1. This is a superbly simple and excellent illustration of a brilliant truth that I so easily lose sight of. Thanks for your writing, I always enjoy it.

  2. This paragraph says it all:

    “The wealthy don’t search the floor for loose coins. The well-fed don’t dig through trashcans looking for food. And the person who is filled with love doesn’t lust.”

    I agree. Great insight! The more I know experientially (and feel) my wife loves me, the more any temptation to lust just doesn’t come up.

    I loved your previous article (mar/apr 2012) as well: it’s all about images we have. I wonder whether these change inside a caring relationship?

    Likewise, I wonder whether knowing I’m loved is a picture of myself that’s satisfying, so satisfying that there’s no need for my eyes to wander and cross personal boundaries?

    Maybe we could meet & talk one day.
    One beggar to another,

  3. Hi Josh, Thanks for your thoughtful articles. I am hungering after those right now, the good stuff!
    Now, I am starting to understand the prior article about lust and love, and, duh… took me a while! I have often wondered why some of the most respectful people I know are not ever creepy or touchy or “pervy” are some of the most godly and or loving people I know. Now, it makes sense! They are not bored or boring, they are filled with love, God’s love and don’t “lust” after people, life, physical things, money, stuff, etc. They are content with the love they receive and get it from God and others in healthy ways.
    I do have an outstanding thought regarding your deliberations. Is there a qualification on “lust” that could be considered healthy, as in a “desire” that motivates us to do and pursue good things? I think sometimes that natural desire, itchiness, hyperness, energy, motivation, or whatever, which is a good thing in certain individuals, can go haywire? This is speaking from experience, LOL. I hope that doesn’t confuse the issue, but, there is something about THAT energy that is good an useful in it’s pure, godly form. I believe that keeps us from being lazy, but, can get us in trouble. Is it the same thing? Thanks again, Josh!

  4. Hi, Josh
    Thank you for sending these emails; I don’t reply often but I read them almost every month. I think this month’s article contains several very important truths but the one that was most helpful to me is the central kernel of your message – that my struggle to remain sexually pure is a struggle against my flesh seeking acceptance, just as I am, from other people rather than receiving the acceptance, just as I am, from Jesus. My brokenness leaves a void that other people cannot fill in any way that is not destructive but God can fill it to overflowing in a way that not only satisfies but that actually repairs the tattered corners of my heart. I keep coming back to one question – how much do I trust God? Do I trust Him enough to stop seeking satisfaction, completion, peace and fulfillment through my own feeble efforts on this earth? Do I trust Him enough to know that He knows exactly what my “itch” is and also exactly how to “scratch it” without making it worse? The answer, of course, is “not always” but, by His grace, that will change to “most of the time”. Thanks again for your emails and your devotion to all of us who need healing in this way. God bless-

  5. Josh- The insights you’ve been sharing have been brilliant… and even better- they’re simple to remember and hold onto. I love it when life-giving truth isn’t bogged down with pages and pages of embellishment. I just want to say “Thanks” for feeding us all- even though many of us aren’t the types to reply on a blog and say so.

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