Is lust truly every man’s battle? Generally speaking, lust gets put in a “Men Only” category. Maybe that’s because of the idea that men are more visual than women and thus more prone to this disordered desire.
On this episode of “Becoming Whole,” Josh and Dan distinguish desire from lust imploring accountability and honesty. The world tells us men are bound to fall into lust but this conversation hopes to refute that toxic message and help you break free.
This is not about condemnation.
Consider this episode more of an ongoing invitation to becoming whole, looking beyond your disordered desire to connect with the freedom and honor God has for you.
Lust dehumanizes the person. It reduces them to be an object of desire, an object to be consumed. It also dehumanizes the person who is doing the lusting, it reduces who he is as a man.
Love always sees the whole person. Love does not use another person. Love actually tries to be self giving.
When a man lusts, even though it might feel natural, it might feel like this is what men do; he’s actually sinning against his own eyes, his own heart, his own mind, his own body.
- Questions for Reflection: Does your picture of this other person include reality: that he or she wakes up in the morning with messy hair and bad breath? that sometimes they get sick? Does it include that they have a heart, that they have longings? Does it include that they have a past? And they have a mother and a father?
- Be Aware of the two words: IF ONLY. Jesus invites us to be present where we are. The words “If only” take us and the person we’re lusting OUT of the present.
- Pray, “I want to be the kind of man Jesus was.”
Proverbs 27:20 “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”
1 Corinthians 6:12 “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore,honor God with your bodies.”
Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.”
Luke 7:44 “Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?’”
Job 31:1-4 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step?
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
Welcome back to becoming whole Podcast. I am thrilled today to be here with Dan keefer, a member of our team, and usually resides in Georgia, but he’s up in our area today. So we are face to face for the first time in a long time. And we are going to talk about lust today, specifically sexual lust as it relates to men. If you’re a woman listening, we encourage you to continue to listen, because what we’re going to talk about today is a reality that that we’ve experienced, and that it’s just, I think, so toxic in our culture around men and sexual lust. And specifically, it’s the notion that sexual lust is just something that men do, then you agree, do you think that’s that that’s kind of in the air? It’s that, that most men, and maybe a lot of women just kind of assume that men lost sexually?
Dan Keefer 1:05
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve encountered this and working with people. And I think even in acknowledging my own journey, that there can be times that I just made this assumption that this is all that it’s ever going to be and just try to not be controlled by it. But the reality is, it’s out there. And, and I think we’re selling ourselves short. We’re selling short what God’s created intent is for us, and and we’re, we’re not walking in the freedom. I think that that Christ purchased for us and the freedom that God intends for us to walk in.
Yeah, if we’re if we are living with an idea about what it means to be a man that isn’t consistent with actually what God created man to be, then we’re obviously running into territory, that’s problematic. But I know that some of our listeners already are kind of going whoa, wait, wait, what, what’s the problem here? So we have sort of this question. How do you define last? Like, if we’re saying that sexual lust is in itself a bad thing? How are we defining it that we would say, so how do you define sexual lust?
Dan Keefer 2:03
Well, one of the ways I think of kind of a technical definition might be disordered desire, or I’ve heard it also said as desire run amok, but I think at its core, particularly sexual lust, it’s it’s taking and consuming a person who does not belong to you. And even at since using that term does not belong to you could be like, Well, wait a minute. So in marriage, like, okay, your wife doesn’t belong to you. But is it okay there, and that can be a conversation for another time. But it’s this using someone for yourself, it dehumanizes the person or reduces them to be it to be an object, an object of desire, an object to be consumed. And in reducing the other person, it also reduces oneself like so the guy that’s doing the last thing, it reduces who he is, as a man who’s also made in the image of God, just as the object of his lust is made in the image of God? Yeah,
yeah, I think that word use is synonymous with loss. I mean, we’re talking about sexual lust, we’re really talking about taking a person or the image of a person, and using them to make ourselves feel sexual pleasure, using another person to make ourselves feel sexual pleasure. So it can be looking at an image of someone on a screen. But we’re still using that person’s image, taking it controlling it so that we feel some type of sexual titillation can be a person that, you know, is walking down the street, and whatever they’re wearing catches a person’s eye. And so they move into sexual lust. Yeah, anytime we’re using the image of another person or another person in a wa y to try to make ourselves feel some type of sexual pleasure. We really are acting as though we are no more than than an animal that we’re animalistic. And so it is degrading. Like you said, not only do they have a person, but it’s degrading ourselves. it diminishes something about about who we are.
Dan Keefer 4:19
And there’s something about that. So let’s talk about sexual lust. And as you were talking, this other thought came to mind that there was a type of lust that may not be sexual, but it’s right at the doorstep of some type of sexual lust. It’s where we see another person, and it might be something about this individual about the personality, the character of the individual, and where we might think if only that person was in my life, then my life would be complete, then my life would be whole. And that is also another aspect of sexual lust. There can be this belief that if I had this person, this experience, then then life would finally be what I desired. It to be
Yeah, yeah, the other. The other thing that comes to mind for me is, and maybe this is even a helpful way to kind of examine, am I? Am I using another person here? Or is this? Or is this just desire? Are you seeing the whole person? I think one of the tragedies of pornography is that it actually refuses to see a whole person, we don’t want to see a whole person, I’ve talked to so many men, and certainly my experience to that. It’s almost like we move into this fantasy world where there’s an idea that there is a certain kind of person that just loves sex, they can have sex with as many people as they want, in any position they want, they can be degraded as much as they want. And they just love it. And they go home at the end of the day, and they’re healthy, happy, old people. And there’s just no such thing. There’s no such thing. And so if we’re, if what we’re doing is reducing a person to certain kinds of body parts, or even just a certain behavior, then we’re not seeing a whole person anymore. So does your picture of this other person? Does it include that he or she wakes up in the morning and has messy hair and bad breath does it include that sometimes they get sick does include they have a heart, and they have longings doesn’t include that they have a past. And they have a mother and a father and their mother and father, look at what they do with their pride or shame or concern, etc, etc. So are we able to see a whole person in the mix here, and we and it’s hard, it’s hard to talk about it without contrasting lust to love. Because love always sees a whole person. Love does not use another person. Love actually tries to be self giving. So I’m getting out of myself. Here’s the next question. If this is true, if it’s true, that there’s kind of this cultural mindset about men, that lust is just what they do. It’s kind of normal thing. And where did this come from? Where’s the where’s the front? Like? How did that come about? So that we kind of have drunk we’ve all drunk this Kool Aid. And we’re walking around as though it’s true.
Dan Keefer 6:46
I think, as you’re saying that one of the things that comes to mind is that this just didn’t happen. It wasn’t like the advent of the Internet, internet introduced last
like Internet, I think,
Dan Keefer 6:56
stick it out on the internet. Yeah, it did not introduce lust, it’s been around since the beginning of time. You know, on one hand, it’s you saw it. In the garden of Eden with or not outside, actually outside the Garden of Eden with Cain and Abel like one offered a sacrifice that the other didn’t. And there was something it wasn’t sexual, less per se. But there was something disordered there in Cain that led him to kill to kill his brother. But you go on from there. And it’s one of the early admonitions of of Scripture is to not be lusting or coveting a neighbor’s wife. And so God knew that there was something about this in our disordered hearts, in our sin stained hearts, that will lead us to look at our present situation and say, This is not enough, I am not satisfied. But if I can only have this person, then I will be satisfied. Or if my wife only had these attributes, like this other person does, then our sexual relationship would be all that I would desire it to be. So it’s wanting more, but then inherently, it creates this. And this may also be getting ahead of ourselves here, but it creates this internal dissatisfaction. Because when when we when we lost, we are not content.
It was the proverb just as hell in the bad and they’re never full. So the eyes of sinful man are never satisfied. It is Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. But the idea that, that God’s admonitions against coveting in the 10 commandments is, and Jesus’s words about lust, include that he he sees clearly that sin has corrupted our hearts in our eyes in such a way that we are prone toward seeing somebody as an object to us. And, and not to put too crass a word on it, but but to kind of slice and dice a person, as though we wish we can mix and match, you know, this person with this person’s body parts are we you know, I just want to focus on this on these body parts or this aspect of this person. And all of that is, is I think what some of our brothers and sisters in Christ would call decree, it’s a culture of death, you know, we’re not really looking for, to be life giving to an individual person, we’re looking to just use a person kind of as as a body, without regard to the spirit and take the spirit and body apart, and you have a corpse. And so even even in the garden after the fall, you have Adam and Eve, and all of a sudden their nakedness is a threat. It’s a concern to both of them. And so they both try to close themselves with fig leaves. So So what had been before this free opportunity for them to feel and look at each other and feel really seen. And here I kind of infer, you know, when when he was looking at Adam and Adam and Eve they were seeing the whole person and loving the whole person. There’s a sense of honor and dignity and when Adam looked at Eve, I think she felt dignity. But after the fall, she felt threatened. There was something different in his eyes and I wonder if part of that was a sense of he wants to consume me he’s he’s taking my parts apart, maybe analyzing, evaluating me in a way That he hadn’t before.
Dan Keefer 10:01
And even raising the question that can come out of shame is am I enough? Am I loved simply for who I am? Or is this person desiring to be something other than what I am?
I don’t know if this has happened, previous cultures, but I also said maybe maybe there are places where this happened. But that idea that men specifically are kind of designed for this, this is, you’ll hear guys say things like, well, men are just more visual than women. You’ll hear guys blaming their lost on the way that women dress. You know, she’d be, you know, it’s like she wants me to look. And what they mean is, she wants me to lie, she wants me to see that part of her body and whether or not that’s true, there’s still underneath that there’s that assumption that this is just what men do, given the quote, unquote, opportunity. And, and that’s part of the toxic message that I think we really need to break free from. And I would encourage, if you’re listening, practice, really paying attention to that. Because if we can continue to practice and get a mindset around the idea that I’m actually not designed for this, I’m not supposed to be lusting. I don’t mean just morally, it’s not supposed to be allowed. But I mean, my body is not designed for this. And here, I think about First Corinthians six, when Paul writes, the body is not created for sexual immorality, but it’s created for the Lord. And he puts a point out by saying, he you’ve sinned sexually sins against his own body. And so when a man lusts, even though it might feel natural, it might feel like this is just what men do. He’s actually sinning against, I would suggest his own eyes, his own heart, his own mind, he is sinning against his own body. And that’s not i’m not pointing fingers at anybody here. This is part of my journey. This is what I’m trying to work out in my own life, too. But yeah, so Dan, would you do anything more with that, before we left,
Dan Keefer 11:46
I think like even talking about the admonitions in Scripture, and you know, in the Old Testament, the New Testament, recognizing, and this is so important, is recognizing that Jesus’s words and the words in the 10 commandments are not about the father and son, saying, we just want to kill joy, we want to kill pleasure. But in fact, what they’re saying is that you’re pursuing when you lust, you’re pursuing a counterfeit, and you’re going to be left, more empty, more alone, more isolated, when you pursue lust. And so what we desire for you is in this admonition to not do something is to pursue life, and pursue life is to prove is to pursue what’s real, true and authentic?
Yeah. So my next question is going to be what’s, what’s the problem? If this is not what we’re made for? And if sexual, less than that were made for and if it came about, from the fall or from something culturally, my next question was, what’s, what’s the problem? Like, why do we say this is not good? And you’re getting after that?
Dan Keefer 12:46
You know, it’s interesting. So as you’re talking, I’m thinking about how does how does Jesus engage with us? Like, when when he like Jesus knows us, before we know him? Does he see us in terms of a fantasised view of who we are, he sees us as we really are, he sees the good, the bad and the ugly. And when one lusts after another, it’s only good. There’s no bad or ugly, it’s all good. And so I think maybe maybe part of this is Jesus saying, saying, I want you to live in a real world.
I mean, you talk about seeing, I think, may have heard you say seeing with realize or, or the eyes we’ve been given, and to see with those eyes is to see imperfection, is to see flaws that may be there. And not to be put off by that. But to even be able to accept that to accept the flaws in ourselves to accept the flaws in one and who may be married to, to accept those flaws. And to see them as part of who the person is. And not to say, if only this were different than life would be better. Because the moment we say, if only this were different than life would be better. We’re ceasing to live in the present. We’ve just essentially checked out I think you’re putting a finger on something so important in this this you talk about is God’s invitation to live in what is real. So Jesus, I mean, several things that Jesus has come to mind as you say that one is, Jesus says, You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. And I don’t think he’s talking about empirical facts. I think what he’s talking about a number of cognitive facts, I think what he’s talking about is when you know what is real, when you can actually see and grasp what is actually real truth, real reality, then you’ll be set free because there is an element of like this, almost like this matrix world we live in where we we’ve been drinking the Kool Aid, we think this is just what men want, what women want, etc, etc. But when we begin to really dig into what’s real, then something changes. And it’s and I would add to the fact of like, a couple things about seeing another person’s faults like seeing a whole person that actually opens us up to grow in love in a way that if we continue in nursing last we won’t grow I mean, so. So if I try to think out loud about this part, what we’re saying is, if you continue to last, you actually cripple yourself your ability to love, because you continue to hold on to this equation that is flipped upside down that says, if somebody looks like this, then I will desire them, and maybe even think that I will love them, or they would be easier to love. And the truth is, the other way around, like love is meant to draw us to another person. And that includes seeing someone’s flaws. The other on the other hand, the other piece of that is that if we have our mindset on a certain kind of body type, and this is this is the kind of person I’m quote, unquote, attracted to, I think part of what we then not just flaws about another person that would kind of push us away from that person. But we also miss the other elements of beauty in a person. And so one of my old mentors used to literally like when he’d walk around and see either someone he was physically drawn to, or when he’d see someone, he was physically like, kind of repulsed by somebody, he just thought I, you know, I don’t like what I see. And just looking at that person. And these are the situations he would turn to the Lord, you turn it into a prayer like, Lord, show me what you see, show me the love that you have for this person. That is such a beautiful prayer, because now now whether the person is completely, quote, unquote, his type, or completely not his type, now he’s got an opportunity where he is seeking the Lord and trying to grow in love, because God sees both those kinds of people with incredible eyes of love. That is, that’s, there’s some powerful net for me. What one of the other passages that came to mind, and I’ll just at the risk of rolling on here too much, when Jesus says, The eye is the lamp of the body, if anybody’s eyes clear, his whole body also will be filled with light. And there’s something in there kind of that connected, as you were talking earlier about seeing what’s real, and having eyes that are able to see what’s real.
Dan Keefer 16:57
So you’re going as you’re also going, you know, talking about this, the other piece that comes to mind is that when an individual lust after another, there’s kind of like a two way street, like, and I don’t know if I’ve ever stopped to think about this, but how would I experience it? If If my wife was seeing my ways, the ways that I’m insufficient? are the things that she wishes would be different? What would it be like to know that she’s actively pursuing thoughts about others who have traits, whether it be physical character, whatever it might be, that are different from mine? I’ve never, I’ve never stopped to think about like, let’s flip it around, you know, is if an individual saying, Well, my present life is not is not satisfactory to me. So I’m going to envision this other and I’m going to fantasize about other people. But what about flipping it around? And so it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t? It wouldn’t be something that would be life giving to us. Yeah. And so
we are, we are not, I mean, people are not designed to be evaluated like that. We are not designed to like to see each other kind of checklist, you know, or sit through a grid like that. And we’re not designed to be treated like that, I think when we the idea of being of kind of, you know, being like somebody looking at us with a checklist of like, you know, well, he’s, you know, Josh has 14, looks 49 like, you know, that’s not very appealing, or whatever, like, or the way he talks or, I mean, whether it’s positive or negative, I think there’s something in that, that throws us off a bit. Yeah, they’re the evaluative, I mean, it’s something that I think is really
Dan Keefer 18:35
painful. And there’s another two words that came to mind that I think be words that we would be important to pay attention to. When we find ourselves saying, if only, if only, and this, this can cover just a huge spectrum of life experiences or places we find ourselves. But as it relates to, you know, if a person’s married, with their spouse, if they look at their spouse and say, if only the moment we say if only, there’s a there’s a detachment that happens, there’s a lack of connection, a lack of oneness, dissatisfaction can set in, and, and also we’re failing, we’re failing to live in the present. And I think that’s one of the things that Jesus invites us to is to be present where we are. And the moment we say, if only we’ve looked somewhere else, and we’re no longer. We’re no longer where we are.
Yeah. All right. So we come back to this initial idea, the idea that that we believe is kind of in the airwaves that is so toxic, and it’s the idea that men are created to last it’s just in our nature. We’ve talked about our definition of loss, we talked about where we think that that notion that faulty notion came from we talked about some of the problem with it. We should also add there as long as we hold on to that idea, as long as we kind of let that nurse that idea in our in our minds, even because it’s just what we’ve always experienced of ourselves or other people. Then we really put a cap on how much we can grow. And we and my hope is that part of this podcast will Do is is to stir men to kind of say, I would like to grow beyond that. And so for the closing question when it’s asked this, what would it look like to grow beyond it? What is God designed us for? What does God desire of men when it comes to their eyes? If that’s a faulty ceiling, on where men are meant to be, and how men are meant to use their eyes, then what are some some pictures and words that would give us a sense of like, that’s we’re made for let’s just kind of throw out some ideas that would cast a vision for some guys,
Dan Keefer 20:30
as soon as I heard you saying that what I was hearing was not just about the eyes, but the heart. I think the reason God, you know, scripture would talk about the eyes is because ultimately, it’s about our hearts. And what are we setting our desires on. And when we’re paying attention to our desires, and where they go into lust, and when they’re not not in that area, I think that’s when we find hearts that are most fully alive. Because a heart that’s saying, if only are heartless, dissatisfied, or discontent is not a heart that’s at rest. And scripture talks about us about receiving a new heart, Jesus talks about bringing abundant life life to the full, there is no one that could convince me when they’re engaged in loss that they’re experiencing life to the phone.
Yeah, when I think about some visions, and just some pictures I have of, of what it is for men to, to break through that false ceiling of, you know, men just lost, I immediately go to places that I think might be opportunities, quote, unquote, opportunities to last. And I want to begin to see those through a different grid. And I think of Jesus here. So, for example, Jesus with the woman at the well, who, or Jesus in Luke seven, where there’s a sexually immoral woman who’s coming and washing his feet, with her tears in her hair. I think in both situations, if Jesus was given over and mastered by last and viewed himself, as you know, given the opportunity, quote, unquote, a man’s gonna last, then it’s then he would have related with both those women in very different ways. The woman at the well, his disciples have gone somewhere else, she had a history, at, at minimum, if he had seen himself that way, he would have been just kind of looking at her maybe shouldn’t try to sneak a peek to see some, you know, a little outline of her body. Instead, Jesus looked and he saw her and he saw elements of who she was including her path, he had some spiritual insight into some of the things that she had done. And he saw her thirst. And man that, like, when I, when I hear stories of, of men and women who are caught in the cycles of pornography, or who have been in sexually abusing relationships are sexually exploited, I think, I don’t want to be contributing to that I want to be that kind of man, the kind of man that Jesus was. So if I run across pornography online, or I see a woman in real life in a compromising position, or I want, I want something in my heart, like you said, something in my eyes, to be able to see a whole person, a daughter, a daughter, a sister, a woman who herself has been wounded by this culture of lost. And I, you’ve heard me talk about this before Dan, but Luke seven, especially when when it’s Simon, the Pharisees, the religious guy, who he’s disgusted, that Jesus is letting this woman wash his feet. And he’s like, you know, if Jesus was really a prophet, he would know what kind of woman This is that she is a sinner. And Jesus knows what Simon’s thinking, which is enough to prove that he’s a prophet. But in any case, his first question to Simon is Simon, do you see this woman? And I think that that question reverberates to men today. And I think men as you’re listening, talking to myself here, Dan, and talking to you, like in those moments where we might be tempted to last I think Jesus question is, Josh, Dan, Ralph, Sam, whoever’s listening to you see this woman? And his words are not they’re not questions of condemnation. It’s a question of invitation. Do you see this woman? And maybe another question would be Do you want to? And to which I want to apply? Like, Yes, Lord, I want to see this woman I want to see women as as whole people. Come, Lord, Dan, any final thoughts as we wrap up?
Dan Keefer 24:11
Well, there’s one and this came out of a conversation with someone this goes back to the Old Testament and to job passages, some may be familiar with where he talks about making a covenant with his eyes and not lust after any woman. And that’s rough, rough statement of that. But it was interesting to me, I’d never thought about that passage this way. But Jobe had just lost everything. Hmm. And what was it that he said, a covenant with his eyes to not lost after a woman. And so there was something going on a job, there was an awareness that he had in the midst of his loss and pain and physical ailments that he was experiencing. That said to him that you know what, this is something important to pay attention to. I’m at a spot where I could be vulnerable to do this. And so well, God enabled me to not do it.
Yeah. Beautiful. slaughter that’s our prayer as we wrap up today, Lord, give us eyes to see, like you see, or give us that same conviction. as Joe we make a covenant with our eyes learn not to look at a woman lustfully not to look at another person lustfully over you teach every man listening. And every woman who’s listening in may start with less as well or what our eyes for. And you Jesus, you said, You came to open the eyes of the blind. Well, we confess to you, Lord, our eyes have been blinded. we’ve only seen objects and obstacles where we are meant to see people. So Lord opened our eyes that we would see people as you see people, we ask it, Lord, for the sake of those that we’ve been tempted to last after, we ask it for our own sake, sake of our families, think of our community. We asked the Lord that you might be glorified. By the way we live in the way we look. Pray all this down the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
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