The first year of Porterbrook Omaha just wrapped up as 25 students turned in their final assignments. The theological and cultural reflection these students are doing is so good that I asked some of them if I could share their work with a larger audience. One of our students applied the dynamics of gospel change to his struggle with lust. His reflections may be helpful to others fighting the same battle.
As Christians we are to be Christ-like. It is the core of our identity to love God above all else and to live as Christ did. As I strive to live a life worthy of the calling I have received, I am all too often made aware of the temptations of my flesh and the sin with which I struggle. One sin that has had a grip on me has been lust.
Lust has been an issue for me since my teen years, since I realized the beauty of the female body. Lust takes the form of looking at pornography and masturbation. It has been an issue for years. The beauty of the good news of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit is that it has the power to change and free me from my sin.
I have great reason to worship God. Through the Gospel I have had great victory over this sin of my flesh and have experienced much grace through it. The Porterbrook material has been great to help me apply the dynamics of change through the gospel.
I have learned that as an adopted son of God, by grace, through faith, I have new desires. Having died to my old self, and being born again and raised into new life through Jesus, I no longer lust after the things of this world. I realize that it is still possible to lust after such things, but if I really am born again, my deepest desire is to live for the glory of God.
Lust and sexual immorality for me is connected to idols of comfort and pleasure. These have taken the place and competed with the ultimate worship of God in my life. I have replaced the fulfillment and the joy in knowing and loving the creator God for the false satisfaction of creation. This is something that I need to be aware of in myself as something that I need to put to death and repent of. I have learned that this change of heart is something that I cannot do myself. I realize that the hope for change only comes from the grace extended to me through Christ. The power to turn from sin does not come from my ability but from submitting to Christ.
I have experienced much grace in the power to turn from sin. Because of the power of a heart change from Coram Deo’s “Sexual Detox Day” earlier this year and the birth of my new daughter, I have had the much victory in turning my eyes away. However I have also experienced the necessity of submitting to God and actively pursuing repentance and killing sin, for I have also fallen on my face a couple of times out of a false sense of confidence and strength in myself.
Through it all, I have realized and I need to continue to remind myself that my righteousness does not come from not sinning. I need to realize that my ability to look away from a lingerie commercial does not make me righteous. I need to remind myself to submit my life and being to God and realize that my righteousness comes from the finished work of Christ alone.