Fixation & Identity

The word “fixation” is defined as “an obsessive interest in or feeling about someone or something.” I suppose we can be fixated on a lot of different things or even people. The term comes from the subject on which we fix our eyes. What we not only gaze upon, but what we fix our eyes on, keeping them locked on will become our fixation.

Jesus talked about the importance of the eyes. In the sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:22-23 (KJV) he said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” What our eyes, and even or especially our mind’s eye focuses on makes all the difference.

Many who claim to be Christians have a struggle with lust and lustful thoughts and/or temptation to seek out pornography. To try and combat these urges, they will try to avoid the sight of any flesh so as to not engage in this struggle. It becomes an exercise of avoidance. There are many problems with this approach. Among them is the simple fact that you can lust after a clothed person or use your imagination to entertain sexual thoughts just as easily. You don’t need to actually see something for a habit such as sexual lust to become your fixation.

Identity is another topic altogether, but it’s an important key in conquering this particular sin habit and any other. This has been my experience. As long as I have a fixation on the wrong thing or with the wrong motive, I’ll never stop struggling. If I rest in my identity in Christ and his finished work on the cross and who I am in him, I won’t have to struggle.

When my focus was on not having sexual thoughts toward women in general, I would keep having sexual thoughts. That was my focus and my failure. When I transferred my focus, my failure vanished. Now I focus on the person, and there are no longer any sexual thoughts that come into play. I used to believe those thoughts were normal, expected, and unavoidable. That was a lie. But you will live and operate as though the lie is true as long as that is your fixation. Change your fixation, and you change the outcome. Now my fixation is Christ and it’s to honor my wife and our relationship as the sole means of my arousal. As a result, nothing else is tempting in that regard. I don’t want anything else. I can see lots of bodies, clothed or not, and I look beyond the skin and into the heart of the person, with a platonic sort of love and respect for them.

I used to be someone who objectified others by trying not to. Now I’m someone who is confident in who I am, and who I am not. My new identity comes into play, and I am a firm believer living in the power of Christ. As long as I tried in my own strength to do good, I couldn’t do it. But instead, I now rest in Christ’s ability to change me to be good (not do good, but be a good tree that bears good fruit), and it becomes easy to do so. I am not one to objectify or dehumanize another person. That’s not in my new nature to do. Our Lord was fully human, and he did not objectify others, but rather loved them, seeing past their outer exterior. When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus, she was most likely naked. He didn’t avert his gaze, or bounce his eyes, or cover her up or anything like that. He looked into her eyes and he became her fixation. He helped her in a way that only he could and one she would never have imagined. 

It’s not hard to avoid lustful fixations any longer, because it’s automatically part of my new nature. It’s eating from the Tree of Life and not resorting to the old Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I don’t have to work hard on breathing or concentrate on my next breath. It’s second nature to me. Likewise, so is this new posture to not sexualize others. I don’t have to worry about impure thoughts or motives, because it’s not who I am anymore.

I’m reminded of an old Petra song I had on CD. So I listened again and heard the lyrics afresh:

It’s a God Fixation
A singleness of heart, an undistracted mind
It’s a God Fixation
Addiction of a different kind

I kind of love that!

The author of Hebrews reminds us in Hebrews 12:2 to fix our eyes on Jesus. Then it speaks of his identity calling him the author and the perfecter of our faith. In Matthew 14:30 when Peter was walking on the water, he was looking at Jesus. When he looked elsewhere, at the wind and the waves, he began to sink. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, not looking to another to satisfy our deepest needs. He alone is sufficient. If and when he becomes our sole focus, the rest of whatever it is we want to change about ourselves will fall into place. We have to trust him. To turn to idols (and that’s what everything else is) will result in failure because it’s a lack of trust in him and his saving grace. Make him your pursuit, rest in his strength and not your own, and your new fixation will become your new identity. Let to old be gone! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV): “…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

11 thoughts on “Fixation & Identity

  1. jeffnkr

    This is an excellent illustration of the fact that lust begins in the MIND. Many times we men feel like it’s “normal” to engage in lust. One of the ways that I fight (and I’m not exaggerating) is to pray for person. I thank God for how He made that person; a time or two, I’ve said, “God, You did a GREAT job with that person! I also remind myself that that person is someone God loves, and for whom Christ died. I pray for their salvation. If I see a wedding ring, I pray for their family. I pray that God will bless them, and that the enemy will be confused and confounded in his efforts to sabotage God’s will. Basically, it’s helped to see the whole person as a valuable member of society, whom God loves, and not a thing to be used and then tossed aside.

    THANK YOU! GREAT POST!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Figleaf

    So true when you said “If and when he becomes our sole focus, the rest of whatever it is we want to change about ourselves will fall into place.”

    Part of that is played out in visualizing human bodies as Father God sees them – as His Image (Genesis 1:27) full of honor and glory (Psalm 8:5).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Paul B

    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
    Hebrews 2:14‭-‬18 ESV

    This was part of this morning’s reading. It immediately came to mind when I read your post. I remember the effort to not lust and how hard it was. So much of what I was doing was effort. It made me feel like I was getting somewhere, but never enough to not have to keep trying. If what Jesus did really was enough, then it should be dealt with. I can really lean on him. Not just pretend like I used to.

    Like

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