Talking about beating lust (the right way!)

The following is an imagined conversation with a non-naturist that doesn’t ever mention naturism. It does, however, assume the lessons that are available to be learned rapidly through the tenets of Christian naturism. In fact, here is a downloadable pdf without any branding or credit given that you can use with non-naturist friends if they aren’t ready to hear about naturism.

Person: I’m going to have to leave soon. I’ve got an accountability group to get to.

Me: Why do you need an accountability group?

Person: Well, you know, every man’s battle?

Me: I’m a man, but I don’t think you should group every man as being in the same type of battle.

Person: Fine, it’s about lust and struggles with pornography, and the group helps us to not do that stuff that most guys deal with regularly.

Me: Oh, we’ll circle back to that, but I’m curious, is it working?

Person: Um, sometimes, I mean I have days and sometimes even months of victory at a time, but then inevitably I fall off the wagon again.

Me: Thanks for being honest. Are you always honest in your group?

Person: For the most part. I guess sometimes we answer only the questions asked and avoid telling the whole truth. The shame we feel helps motivate us. We all struggle with it, so when one person shared their defeat, it’s not as bad when I share mine. But then sometimes it gives me ideas of new ways I can be tempted like the other guys!

Me: That doesn’t sound very promising. And shame should never ever be your motivator. Aside from the support and encouragement, it seems like you all need a breakthrough!

Person: We do! That’s why I said it’s every man’s battle. Don’t you have the same struggle?

Me: Thankfully, no. I used to, but not anymore. Not ever.

Person: How long has it been since you looked at porn?

Me: Is that how we are measuring victory? Avoidance of any visual stimuli?

Person: Well, yeah. Temptation is all around us. If I can avoid seeing something, I won’t fall into temptation! You know, ‘cuz all men are visual.

Me: There you go again with “all men!” What you see is not as important as how you see what you see.

Person: I’m not following you.

Me: OK, so if you see a woman, let’s say, do you automatically lust after her?

Person: It depends whether or not she’s hot or not.

Me: So if you determine that she is attractive, let’s use that word instead, you automatically desire her in a sexual way?

Person: Well, yeah. I have a pulse. All the guys I know are like that! And even the preacher talks about his wife as being “smokin’ hot!”

Me: OK, that’s messed up. Hey, I’m not trying to be holier than thou. In fact, I get it, I used to be the same way. 

Person: Your saying you’re not anymore? And YOU’RE being honest?

Me: I don’t want to objectify anyone. I’d rather die than objectify another human being, even my wife.

Person: Not even your wife? You have to be attracted to her!

Me: I am.

Person: Well, what’s the difference? 

Me: Terms like “hot” or “ugly” are offensive and demeaning. A person is so much more than the sum or arrangement of their parts. They aren’t a piece of meat. They are an individual, made in the image of God, and worthy of love and respect.

Person: Yeah, I know that! But if they are attractive, or good looking, I can’t help myself, you know?

Me: I don’t. Remember, when I said it’s about how you see? I see others as God sees them. Everyone has their own beauty, in their own way, no matter how society has conditioned us to see them.

Person: Conditioned? What are you saying? Some people are just not as beautiful as others. If you don’t acknowledge that, you’re just crazy.

Me: I’m sorry, but you seem a bit obsessed about a person’s physical appearance. That’s what our culture and world does. The standards of beauty that marketers push are not even real, let alone attainable.

Person: I know that, but I just like the girl next door type. Not magazine perfect, but not unattractive.

Me: What if your own wife was disfigured in an accident? Would you be able to look past her scars as see the person you love?

Person: Well, yeah. Absolutely. But I don’t have that relationship with other women, so I can’t promise that with someone I don’t even know.

Me: Why not? Why not see beauty and value in everyone, and reject the notion that only your type is deserving of admiration.

Person: Ah, so you admit that you admire others. You say you don’t lust after them, but you admire their beauty!

Me: I admire that tree over in the distance too. Or the sunrise this morning.

Person: We’re not talking about creation! We’re talking about people.

Me: Are people not the pinnacle of God’s creation? 

Person: OK, yeah, but it’s different.

Me: Is it?

Person: It’s apples and oranges. And it’s forbidden fruit! So when we fall and let our minds wander and do what they do, we have to go confess it to a group of guys and try harder next time. 

Me: Sounds like a vicious cycle.

Person: It is! 

Me: Could it be that you’ve believed a lie?

Person: A lie? What lie?

Me: Well, from what you’ve described, I’ve noticed several lies. That all men are visual and can’t help but react in a sexual arousal manner. That it’s every man’s struggle that can’t be overcome easily. That you have to try harder and have accountability to be pure. All lies. And if you agree with them and believe them, they will continue to control you. 

Person: So what’s the answer?

Me: The truth will make you free (John 8:32). Reject the lies, live as though the truth is actually true, and enjoy the life abundant that Jesus offers and his finished work on the cross secures for you. It’s not by your own power, but by his life in you.

Person: I believe in Jesus, but I don’t see how I can use his power to overcome such urges.

Me: He’s given you a new heart and a new nature. It’s about truth and identity. The new you doesn’t even desire porn, right? It’s not the innocent beauty of the body as the crown of creation. It’s a distortion that objectifies and sexualized what God made very good. You feel trapped and drawn to that which you don’t even want. So agree with the truth, and it loses that power over you. You don’t want that; it’s revolting to you in your new nature. You have no desire or appetite for it. 

Person: That is true. I don’t want it, but I indulge and then feel guilty almost immediately.

Me: The command not to murder my brother is easy to keep because I don’t want to commit murder. This is the same now. I don’t want to objectify another human being made in God’s image, so when I see visual stimuli, it doesn’t faze or tempt me. I move on. The battle is in the heart and the mind. That’s what Jesus was saying. We need to renew our mind and heart. He’s done it for you already. Stop believing the lies!

Person: So you really don’t have this problem?

Me: I used to, but it has vanished and for good! There is no struggle any longer. I don’t need software or anything. It’s like a former alcoholic going down the liquor aisle at the grocery store. If he’s really free, he can do that and not have any trouble.

Person: And your relationship with your wife is better now?

Me: It’s amazing! That’s where arousal is supposed to come from- relationship, not visual. To limit to the visual, seeing or avoiding seeing stuff is to forget about the power of our imagination, anyway. Can a blind man lust? We don’t have to see anything to lust. And when we see something, we don’t have to lust. Arousal based on relationship was God’s original design, and it’s much better and more powerful. Everything else is a distortion and fantasy.

Person: Well, you’ve certainly given me a lot to think about! 

Me: And you better get to your accountability group!

Person: I think I’m too late for that. And I’m just not feeling it now. Would you wanna talk to my guys next week maybe?

14 thoughts on “Talking about beating lust (the right way!)

  1. Mark

    You meant “tenet,” not tenant, which is the resident of a building. You do lose impact and credibility when you use the incorrect/wrong word. Please look up tenet in the dictionary.

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  2. Paul B

    Not long after discovering My Chains are Gone and finding freedom from a porn compulsion, I had this kind of conversation with a friend from church. I wish that I’d had the time to process my thoughts more than I had at the time. He insisted that men were wired to be turned on visually. Now, I would have partially agreed, but added that it was software programming rather than hardwiring. Software can be changed easily. I know. I’ve changed computers from Windows to Linux. Most conversations I have now are to do with Imago Dei/the image of God. Until we accept that, the idea that exposure to shared nudity might solve anything is offensive. And shared nudity without giving up my sexualised view of the body is dangerous.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. pastordavidrn

    I’m so glad you wrote this dialogue. I had been porn-proofed by a realistic exposure to the naked body in nursing. Because of my Christian principles of seeing people as made in the image of God and valuable for being persons and not for how they looked, I despised the idea of pornography and how it objectified people. My “Pornography” poem (https://allpoetry.com/poem/14460400) was written almost a decade before I discovered the “body acceptance” articulated in naturist literature. I did revise the poem slightly to be more “body-friendly” after logically sifting through the strong nudist/naturist arguments. But the new practice of accepting my own body, as well as better understanding why nudity never caused me to have lust, did not lead me to embrace naturism as a lifestyle. As many of you know, I fit right in, totally comfortable, among naked nudists, but my ongoing loud noise in writing about “body acceptance” hasn’t ceased to flourish, despite standing outside nudism. In my recent novel, MUSE, I tried showing this same successful body-acceptance mindset in the world of art and artists, while not at all discounting nudist wisdom.

    Indeed, I owe much to nudist writings. But I truly laud and applaud this dialogue, which teaches nudist principles without making the nudist connection. Its flow shouldn’t turn off any readers who are illogically, even insanely, prejudiced against those who found their moral freedom in the concepts and practice of traditional nudism. Even with my nursing experience, I was for years firmly closed off to any investigation of nudism, merely from my own personal allegiance to ignorant group-prejudice. Your dialogue has the potential of reaching many who were like me, as well as giving a wake-up call to those following the ineffective, legalistic, body-shame-based methods the traditional church is using to fight porn addiction.

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  4. Phil

    Let me make sure I understand this.
    The key to ridding ourselves of lust is to stop objectifying people. Stop thinking of women as sex parts with a pretty face on top. Think instead of them as an individual with an eternal soul that needs Jesus.
    So when I’m out running errands and come face-to-face with a bra-less woman with lots of jiggle and erect nipples I should …. here’s where I’m stuck. Don’t think about her breasts? Acknowledge in my mind she has beautiful breasts, but I’ve seen breasts before and hers are no different. Immediately think that this woman has lived with being objectified since adolescence and that I should treat her, and think of her, with the love and respect that Jesus wants me to.
    This could be tough. But it strikes me as being a better way than the worthless advice from the pulpit.
    On the point that men being visually aroused is error: why then did Playboy enjoy success after being founded in 1953 while Playgirl wasn’t founded unto 1973? Why does the Bible tell men to make a covenant with their eyes, but women are not. I do think their is a visual stimulation men have that women do not.

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    • Phil O.

      I appreciate you writing and asking these questions. I think the covenant with your eyes is what I said as not what you see but how you see it. You have a great example trying to wrap your head around this truth. That truth will set you free! Playboy was popular because of the over sexualized and pornified worldview being pushed and culture and agreed with in church pulpits. Have you read through all of http://www.mychainsaregone.org? I recommend you do. I believe both men and women have a visual element and are drawn to admire the beauty that God created in the human physique, but it’s a conditioned response to take that to the point we often do and sexualize everything think we are hardwired to do so. I’ve lived both ways. Believing those lies and reaping those consequences and I’ve also lived rejecting those lies and reaping the reward. There’s no question in my mind what God’s intent was versus what we think is God’s design but is only the abuse of his gift in reality. Read MCAG, especially the traditional view contrasted with the renewed view.

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    • Gil Royal

      We are so conditioned to immediately associate nipples with second base. And if you are familiar with baseball jargon, second base is considered scoring position! You’re half the way home, and everyone wants to score, right? How quickly we can separate body parts from the soul that owns them and yield ourselves to self gratification, completely missing the beauty of the whole person God has created. We then justify our actions by citing the false teaching that “we can’t help ourselves; God hardwired the male brain that way.” Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, but I don’t have to wear it! Our desire should be for a loving relationship with the whole person, not a shallow craving for its exterior. We are enabled to see those nipples as God sees them when He has completed the work of Romans 12:2 in us.

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  5. R B Mears

    What a great article. This is just how I try to deal with Christians who are not naturists. At some point, however, I always bring in that I practice naturism, and that it is a great help in seeing all bodies as Imago Dei. It does cause some people to take a step back, but it plants a seed.

    Liked by 1 person

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