How to Stop Lusting in One Step


We live in a world with a lust problem. Celebrities, politicians, pastors, men, women, lusting is everywhere. For many, lust has led to behaviors that are ruining their careers, marriages, or ministries. For others, it’s just a matter of time, whether they know it or not.

Lust is a huge problem.

So how do you stop Lusting?

You love.

Simple. But not easy. Love requires transformation, it will cost you, it will mean laying down your life. The more you love, the less you’ll lust. This is because it is impossible to lust and to love at the same time. When you love another human being, you simply cannot lust after him or her.

Take a look at a few comparisons to illustrate this.

How to Stop Lusting

When you love, you . . . When you lust, you . . .
See a whole personSee only a body or body part(s)
Give for the other’s goodTake for your own pleasure
Are willing to suffer for another. Are after pleasure, even at someone else’s expense
Reserve physical desire for oneDesire recklessly, anyone will do

Love trumps the power of lust, and lusting. So if you’ve been spending all your energy trying not to lust, seek more how to love.

One more thing: If you want to love, ask Jesus—who is Love—to help you. He’s been waiting for you to ask.

Let me hear from you! What can you do to become better at loving others? What helps you see a whole person? And for those of you who are particularly brave, what ideas do you have about how to love in the moment when you’re tempted to lust? Leave a comment below.

With Love,

Other resources on Lust:

Is Lust Okay in Marriage? – Podcast

5 Things I do When I am Tempted to Lust

Thanks For Reading.

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  • That is just plain powerful and applicable to more than lust. Love trumps self-pity and loneliness and longing. Thanks, Josh.

    • I’m convinced that loving the way Jesus taught us to – loving and praying for the best for the very person we are tempted to lust after is the way to get free of this. I find that the initial lustful reaction changes as soon as I pray that the person in my gaze will be visited by an outpouring of God’s holiness and that they themselves will become holy.

      It’s tougher in the summer because dress gets pretty casual.

      Another thing that really helps me when i fall into lustful temptation is to treat it just that way – Watchman Nee the great Chinese evangelist said it best. “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head but you don’t have to let them build a nest in your hair” Remembering this helps a lot when we get discouraged and self condemn because we have these thoughts.

    • Need stop wanting sex and want love.Hid bless people who love people and don’t lust over them..

  • Josh:

    What a great sentiment. As I struggle with this demon, I will keep this not only in mind, but start asking Jesus for it as well.

    God bless you and all the work you do,

  • Good word! It’s not what you stop doing but what you start doing. When a person allows themselves to become filled with disappointment or discontentment they will seek relief through lust or some other dependency. I am finding it helpful to truly obey Paul’s advice to rejoice in the Lord always and the decision to find satisfaction in the love God has for me.

  • Here is another way lust can move towards love …

    (changing 1 letter and attempting to connect the words…)

    LUST – attempts to gain power, then we realize we are
    LOST – we have lost touch with our Lord, and ourselves
    and our purpose for living – we need to make a
    decision and not
    LOSE – any more ground in the ever present connection to
    Jesus – our direction, our example – so we must
    LOVE – love and love again, and love again and again –

  • I guess it really doesn’t matter how you knew that I especially needed to hear this today.

  • WHY don’t parents teach their children this?! When we are busy loving – praying, contributing, nurturing, helping, giving, spreading joy, comforting…we won’t have time for lusting! In the moment, I would say to picture the object of your lust as a helpless or hurting child, even as one of your own children, and realize that you cannot help him or her ALONE. GET TO A PUBLIC PLACE, or stay there so that others can “help” YOU…afterall, it’s YOU who is about to stumble and hurt you both.

  • I personally look at the whole person in a non judgemental aspect. I sit back and I look, listen, and observe. You can tell alot about how people are by how they respond to different situations, there character traits, the way they interact with others, how they carry themselves, and the people they kkep in their company. I personally call on Jesus and ask him to giuide my way of thinking and for him to give me his way of thinking and will.
    I love every one but I never quite looked at lust as a big factor until I was made aware of it being a sin. So Im learning. Of course every day is a struggle against the enemy. At the end of the day I’m asking God for his ways of thinking, being, and for him to guide me and to continue to order all my steps.

  • The word “lust” can be both good and bad. As a substitute for the word “hunger”, I contend that it is a part of a reciprocal (not selfish)relationship, we should “hunger and thirst after righteousness”.
    If the intent is a sexual application of the word “lust” only, then, I also contend within the context of a marriage, it is good to have lust (controlled, non-violent, respectful “hunger”) for our husband or wife. Otherwise, we may not “be fruitful and multiply”. To generalize “lust” as something that is the “opposite action” or something we do instead of loving, does not make sense to me in these contexts.
    I also disagree that in the context of a loving, monogamous relationship that “lust” is something that reckless or selfish or directed towards anyone that will satisfy it. Right or wrong, lust or love can be directed towards just one person. Lust, or desire for someone or something can be just a “hunger”, for relationship, touch, sex, companionship, which is healthy. It is not automatically selfish, reckless and the hunger isn’t necessarily insatiable or directed towards more than one person .

    • Jacqui –

      I do understand that the word “lust” can be used as a synonym to “desire” or “hunger” but I rarely hear it used in those ways in conversational English. In this post, I was using “lust” to mean specifically the sin of lust. Does this clarification resolve your concerns with the post?

      The value in this clarification to me is that it is so important that desire as a whole (whether sexual, romantic, or otherwise) not be villified. Desire is created by God and it is good. Likewise, to desire physical closeness with another or to admire another’s beauty — these, too, are also good and godly, so long as they are ruled by love.

  • Josh,

    Great counsel. Love has been the most liberating single thing in my life as I have approached the issue of lust and pornography. To have the God-given imagination to see these “objects” as real people, to imagine their aspirations, struggles, hurts, all contribute to a release from the tyranny of self.

  • I believe for the most part. But however that isn’t always the case. There have been times when I didn’t even lust over the person, but when we grew to know each other and love each other, then Lust entered in. Partly because of self pleasure, but also to please the other too. There are also cases where you want to do nothing but please a person and from a mental point of view, you think that pleasing them in a sexual is the answer. I agree that isn’t true, but non the less it happens. I am prime example. And there are other reasons too. But to make an agreement with this article, I have gotten to the point that when there is lust, there is an opportunity for the overpowering of Love. You just have to stop and think, is this love ir lust I am feeling? And if it is lust, then I have to then say to my self, then I need to take a step back and take this in a different approach. What make lust so hard to fight for me is, that I enjoy it way to much.Then I get angry at my self for even having that issue. lol

  • Love, the antithesis to lust. OF COURSE.
    Every attempt to not sin leaves a vacuum where 7 spirits worse than the first move in.
    John preached, “My little children, love one another.”
    I will be looking to replace every sin with its holy opposite, and fully expect to have the most exciting daily study time finding Scripture overflowing with them!
    Praising the Lord for the power in the simplicity, clarity and supply of His word!

  • What can you do to become better at loving others? See others and all through the eyes of Jesus……forgive and receive healing through His wombs.

  • I love that comment ms darby about seeing the person you have lustful thoughts towards, as a child, even your child. You want to love and protect your child… you dont want to take them for yourself or use them. In the same way when adopted into Gods family we are children… God has given us a venue for our desires in the sanctified relationship of marriage…and he has made us for relationships…multiple ones, the primary one with himself.

    In the world we are all looking for love, but it comes from God, and the ways in which hes provided it… those who commit suicide are often well loved… it seems that those who stay alive do so bc what is needed is someone to keep love-ing…

  • I’m not sure about this Josh. Let’s say you are lusting after a beautiful woman. By getting to know her well enough that you love her, will you want her any less?

    • Great, great question. There’s benefit in getting to know somebody in order to love them. It can help us to no longer see them as an object and to start seeing them as a real person, with real needs. But getting to know someone does not automatically mean you will love them. Case in point, a married couple who knows each other very well and has grown to loathe each other over many hard years. Likewise, a man may try to get to know a coworker as a real person in an attempt to stop lusting, and in the process he may find himself, as you put it, “wanting” her more. Ultimately, getting to know someone does not prevent lust.

      Love is not the result of chemistry between people so much as a gift one person gives another, regardless of attraction or anything the other person can give in return. A man who gets to know a beautiful woman and finds himself wanting her is still faced with the choice to love or to lust, to use her for his own selfish gratification or to serve her selflessly. And this is true whether he is married or single, whether she is also attracted to him or not, and even whether she is someone else’s wife or his own.

      Does this answer your question? Or add to it?

  • What tips do you have on stopping lust for someone you don’t know? Such as pornography and other graphic sensations.

    • Great question, Zechariah! I hope others chime in with their ideas and what’s worked for them, but here are a few strategies that I recommend:

      1. Ask Jesus to open your eyes to who He sees. And keep asking. We need His Spirit to transform us and retrain our brains, eyes, and bodies to respond differently to others.

      2. Practice the truth about others. Lust doesn’t want to see a whole person, but you’re made to. So, consider what you know to be true about the other person (e.g. has a mom and dad somewhere, is created by God, goes to the bathroom, gets sick sometimes, needs to be loved, etc.), and also think logically about what else might be going on for that person (e.g. if the person is in pornography, what kind of brokenness might have contributed to that life choice, what it might be like when he/she goes home at night, what is likely the real state of his/her relationships? etc.).

      3. When you are tempted to lust during your everyday life, pray for that person — ask the Father to pour out His pure love into him/her and to give him/her only His best; look the person in the eyes rather than at other body parts; purpose to look at others whom you don’t feel tempted by and to notice their beauty.

      Hope this helps! What other ideas do you or others have?

  • The problem is is its just available and sometes I succeed in fighting it off but sometimes it just happens. I noticed reading my bible might have helped. Is that true?

    • Scripture is invaluable to us in this struggle. If there are particular verses or passages that especially speak to this area of struggle for you, you might want to memorize them.

  • Focusing on scripture sure helps. “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, for he trusts in You.” His abiding care and love for me and all others gives me hope after I’ve struggled, failed and confessed.

  • I pray YAHUSHUA CHRIST remove all lust from my life and give me strength knowledge peace to overcome in YAHUSHUA CHRIST HOLY NAME AMEN John16:23HALLELUYAH!

  • I didn’t get it. I’m in a pickle in the sense that I’m lusting after someone I surely, 100%, hate. Maybe not burning hate but still hate to the extent that harming them emotionally makes me feel relieved (they hurt me before emotionally) and yet, here I am, … lusting after this person … and there’s no way, EVER, in the seven layers of whatever there is, that I’d want to even like such a pathetic person let alone love. And I already have someone I’d die for, for loving them so much (not in a sexual or romantic way. Our love is entirely pure, untainted and unconditional). What do I do? I really need to get rid of these lustful thoughts and the malice mixed in them as well since I’m afraid it might affect how I treat this person later and honestly, I don’t consider this petty person worthy of me getting myself in trouble.

    • L.B., thanks for reading and for your questions. You wrote that you’re lusting after someone you hate, and this highlights how lust and love are nowhere near the same thing. Without knowing more about your situation, I have three comments I hope will help:

      1. More than having a lust problem, you have a hate problem. What if you were to shift the focus of your struggle from giving up lusting after her to giving up hating her? You mentioned that she hurt you emotionally in the past. Do you need to get help to work through what happened and forgive her?

      2. Dr. Mark Laaser has taught that our sexual fantasies are our soul’s attempt at healing itself. Jay Stringer confirms this as his research suggests that our fantasy and lust, when rightly understood, can tell us something about the wounds we carry that need the healing of Christ. All this to say, we can often remain stuck in lust because its being fueled by something deeper going on in our hearts.

      3. It’s rare that someone can break a habit of lust, work through forgiveness, or uncover and heal from emotional wounds alone. You’ll need help, as we all do. Would you be willing to reach out to a Christian healing ministry or Christian therapist who can help you with this? If Regeneration can help you, please let us know.

      I offer all this humbly, hearing your hurt and your desire to break free from the cycle of lusting and loathing you’re in.

  • I deeply struggle with lust, it is destroying me inside out, I want women cant even have because they are seoerated but still married, I lust for fitness, to get the body I want, I lust after power, when it comes to my will, and not God’s. I actually placed my will above his it if jealousy. And self esteem. I hate being in this position, but at the same time I feel the need to stop and not turn back, but I turn back over and over again, life is short, and no doubt GOD WILL JUDGE ME SEVERELY, because I was raised in the LORD from a child and up. So I know better than alot of people plus I struggle with pornography, and compulsive masturbation for years. I also lust for a wife and even children for my own pleasure, instead of the true meaning of a family, when it comes to GOD’s will.

    • Hi Emmanuel, your response caught my attention and I wanted to encourage you to reach out for some help. That tendency to “turn back over and over again” may indicate something deeper going on under the surface that a discerning or trained ear can help you uncover. A lot of us “know better,” where we actually need to “need better.” You need the support, encouragement, and grace available in a place like Regeneration or another healing ministry or support group. Let me know if you have any questions or if one of us can help, brother!

By Josh Glaser

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