Fear is omni-present in nature, and for good reason. Everywhere you look, people, animals, and organisms die as a result of myriad threats in the environment. Today, physical death from war, predators, and famine is a lot less common for the majority of people alive than it was in past eras. However, the fear of experiencing negative emotion, like rejection or grief or sadness, abounds. Fear motivates people to take action to neutralize threats to their physical or emotional threat well-being. However, the fear response in man can, and often does, become disorderly.
Today I’ve transcribed a short clip in which Alex Wilson discusses the relationship between lust and fear, which is often underappreciated. Lust is a source of instant gratification that immediately resolves the problem of fear. The problem is that lust typically enlarges fear shortly after the fact, while cultivating selfishness and self-centeredness in its subject. Lust weakens an individual’s ability to love others, and damages relationships.
Alex Wilson shares his strategy for defeating lust that he learned from John Piper–resistance and refilling. Resistance is what we do in the face of temptation, analogous to lifting a heavy weight in the gym. Refilling is what we do when we’re not actively being tempted–pray and read the Bible, primarily–which is analogous to diet, nutrition, and protein consumption.
I’m not sure I agree with Alex’s proposition that fear is the root of every sin we will ever commit. However, I do believe it plays a role in many of them.
Check out the video, transcript, and some of the top comments below!
Lust is the devil’s most underrated weapon. Right next to comfortFame Montana
I just wish I was never introduced to that stuff I was such a good kid but then I got introduced to it Edit: all this love, all these people helping me, is amazing thank you guys so much, I’m trying really hard and all of you guys are making it easier thank youAdrian Renteria
Please pray for me. I struggle with lust. I’d also like to add that the other half of roots of sin is selfishness.Ty Thompson
Thank you so much. Pornography has ruined the way I see girls. And has messed me up. Thank you bro really means a lot. God is good!❤️Jesus is Lord
Remember, we don’t resist lust just because it hurts us, the people around us, our ministry ect., but primarily because it breaks God’s heart and he doesn’t want us to live that way. God bless you in your fight against sinDominic Thompson
Lust makes you feel like there’s comfort, like there’s an answer there to your stress, to your problems, to your fear, but it’s not. It’s just a chemical reaction of numbing yourself to what’s going on. And it kills you ability to love. Your ability to trust people. It makes you more self-centered, and more selfish than we already are when we’re born into this world. It’s a negative, negative effect, and it has huge effects across our whole life.Alex Wilson
For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.
How to defeat lust? I’m going to share with you a story about something that happened to me recently that was really crazy and unexpected, but first I want to talk about what lust is, and what the culture says about lust.
Winning the war against lust is just that, a war. You’re not going to win every battle. I’m not going to be naïve and say that, but when you win most of the battles, you will win the war. When you lose most of the battles, you will lose the war. The devil’s plan is to destroy you with lust, so what is it really?
Well, when the Bible talks about lust, it doesn’t talk about a one-sided action. It talks about having the desire and the intention to make that person lust back after you. So, your heart and your mind is computing the feelings of lust as “I want to do everything in my power to make that person lust back after me.” It’s not just one-sided. That’s why it’s so deadly, because it’s a full-out fantasy that your mind is understanding as real. Your heart is understanding it as real. And that’s why it’s so messed up.
Also, it’s a perverted way of your mind thinking that it can find comfort from fear. At the root of all sin is fear. When Eve was in the garden and the serpent came up to her and said, “You will not surely die.” What Eve’s heart understood and her mind understood, “Does God really love me? Is God holding out on me by saying, ‘Do not eat this fruit.” Can I trust God? Am I really God’s daughter? What is going on? I’m just going to eat it to find out what happens.”
It started with fear. The root of every single sin you will ever commit is fear. Fear of death. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of rejection. Fear of the future. Worrying. Worry is just fear. Stress is just fear. All of it at the root is fear. When I was a kid, 7 or 8 years old, when I was introduced to pornographic material at a young age, at a friend’s house, at a sleepover, it was fear again. The chemicals in my body reacting to the lust and the TV, and whatever I was seeing—it was all fearful because I hadn’t experienced it before. And I felt dark, I felt evil, I felt like what is going on? Where’s my parents? Fear, fear, fear, fear.
I experienced a lot of stuff happening in our neighborhood, in our family. That made me think, oh my gosh, maybe my parents will stop loving me. Maybe I am going to get in trouble, maybe my safety isn’t my parents’ number #1 priority. All lies—of course it was, but they were lies because of what I was experiencing in my life that was rooted in fear.
That kept me going back to lust because lust, it makes you feel like you’re being comforted. It makes you feel like there’s comfort, there’s an answer there to your stress, to your problems, to your fear, but it’s not. It’s just a chemical reaction of numbing yourself to what’s going on. And it kills you ability to love. Your ability to trust people. It makes you more self-centered, and more selfish than we already are when we’re born into this world. It’s a negative, negative effect, and it has huge effects across our whole life.
And that’s why we’re doing this video because the culture says it’s okay. The culture says it’s self-love. It’s body-positivity. It’s in every movie. It’s in every song, and it’s a part of our culture, and we act like it’s just OK. Even in some PG movies or G movies, there are innuendos that are rooted in lust, underlined with lust. And you can’t unsee or unhear stuff, and so it fills our mind up with evil thoughts, and it’s all set up by the enemy, by the devil, by the world, to get us to trust in ourselves, and to trust in lust instead of trusting in God.
Making sure no one is behind me because I’m going to share this story with you real quick. When my wife and I and my friend were going to a waterfall, I show up at the waterfall, and there’s this girl there, and I look over after looking in the waterfall to make sure there’s like no dead pigs or trees or limbs in the water before we jumped in. I saw this girl, and I looked over at her, and she looked at me, and she smiled, and it was kind of like a mischievous smile, and so I was upset because I didn’t want anyone to be there, and so I turned away right away because I didn’t want it to start a conversation because I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to jump in and swim with my friends.
But the smile threw me off-guard so much that, as my wife was walking up behind me, I looked back, and when I looked back is when I realized that girl was completely naked. And my wife was walking up around the same time, and when she did, we both like saw her at the same time, and we both looked at each other like “Woah, what’s going on? We should get out of here. We should leave.”
Luckily, that lady ended up leaving, and so she ended up leaving probably because she was ashamed. Later that night, after we swam and had a good time, I was in bed, and my flesh started asking questions like, “What if your wife wasn’t there? What if your friend wasn’t there? What would happen? And, in my temptation to lust, I wanted to answer those questions. I wanted to fantasize about what if my wife wasn’t there? What if I was alone and I walked up here and this girl was just naked?
But I learned something from Pastor John Piper, which helped me to defeat lust in that moment and win that battle, and, ultimately, will help me win the war, which is resist. When you go to resist, you lift the muscles, you lift the weights and the lifting of the weights is a resistance on your muscles that makes your muscles stronger and stronger. That is so important, but if you don’t go back and refill on water and meat or protein, if you’re vegetarian, your muscles won’t grow. You’ll waste that workout. You have to resist and you have to refill. You can’t just do one or the other. You can’t just refill because you’re just going to get overweight, you’re not going to have any muscles. You have to resist and refill.
Th Word of God and prayer is your water and your protein. That’s how you refill. You resist by saying no to the temptation. You don’t give in to it. In that moment, I say “you know what, no, that’s evil!” It was all set up by the devil, by the world, by my flesh. I’m not going to think about that. I’m going to resist right now, because that feeling of lust is going to destroy me, ultimately, and if I lose battle after battle after battle after battle, eventually I’m going to lose the war. I’m going to lose my family. I’m going to lose my ministry. I’m going to lose my platform.
Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” The Bible tells us all the time, the people of Israel, that if they obeyed God, God would bless them. If we want God to bless us, if we want to get stronger as a believer, if we want to love Jesus more, we have to resist. And then we have to refill. Refill by the Word of God and Prayer.