This post is the last one planned for this series, which is also the lengthiest series to date. I have taken this much time because the issues of lust and unquenchable desires are taking a heavy toll on Christian families. While pornography and teenagers have been the focus in this series, the cravings of the flesh extend to almost every area and every age of life. The fires of lust are fanned when the demands of toddlers are not challenged, but gratified, tolerated or overlooked. Children who are self-focused and allowed to indulge in self-pity become primary targets for sensuality. And, as Don Fields observed in his insightful comment, perhaps many parents are still trying unsuccessfully to free themselves from the power of lust. This is an important issue for the church today. Everywhere we turn in this world, we are urged to yield to the call of the flesh. This call must be rejected.
God has provided the help we need. Ephesians 4:11- 5:20 and the parallel passage in Colossians 2:6 – 3:17 offer the hope of the gospel to overcome lust. I encourage you to study these passages diligently with the earnest prayer that God will cause you to see that learning Christ is THE hope for all Christians ensnared by the cravings of the world. The Holy Spirit has provided all the power needed to address the sins of lust and desire. The implementation of rules will not keep your children from these sins. It is putting on–truly knowing–the person of Jesus Christ that offers true hope.
Here are just a few final thoughts about lust.
Lust is always a lie. It cannot deliver what it promises. This is true whether your three-year-old is demanding to have his favorite toy or whether your fifteen year-old is viewing sexual images on the Internet. Giving in to these desires will lead only to more demands and more titillation. What is important to realize is that the demands–for the next toy or for the next image–spring from the same root of continual, unsatisfied lust that Ephesians 4:19 warns about. Parents aren’t usually as concerned about the craving for a toy as they are about the craving for the Internet image. This is naive and dangerous thinking.
The power of lust is in the anticipation. Once the object of the lust is attained, pounding desires turn to disgust. Anticipation is typically fueled by a lack of gratitude, combined with self pity. This is where the battle must be waged. Trying to overcome the temptations of lust by focusing on the act of lust, without addressing anticipation, will not lead to genuine repentance and change.
Rules and behavior changes by themselves will not end the pattern, which is 1) anticipation, 2) acting on the anticipation, 3) disgust, and then 4) renewed anticipation. By themselves, rules will only inflame the fires of anticipation (Colossians 2:23).
Self-pity and selfish preoccupation at any age are prime breeding grounds for lust and its bitter fruit.
Learning Christ and showing the love of Christ to your children is the only way to effect lasting change.
Thanks again for staying with me through this series. May God bless you as you take your children to Christ.