Strategies for Combating Impure Desires John Piper


Here are six tried and tested strategies for combating impure desires. I have men and women in mind. For men, it’s obvious. The need for a war against the bombardment of visual temptation that causes us to fixate on sexual images is urgent. For women, it is less obvious, but just as important if we broaden the scope of temptation to food, figure, or relationship fantasies. When I speak of “impure desires,” I mean the area of ​​thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct. So here is a set of strategies in the war against bad desires. I presented them in the form of an acronym, ARMUR E.

A – Refrain as much as possible and reasonably from images and situations that arouse inappropriate desire.

I say “possible and reasonable” because some exposure to temptation is inevitable. And I say “inappropriate desire” because not all desires relating to sex, food, and family are bad. We know when they are inappropriate and unnecessary and when they are on the verge of becoming enslaved. We know our weaknesses and what triggers them. “Abstaining” from these kinds of things is a biblical strategy. “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” (2 Timothy 2:22). “Do not let your evil desires lead you into evil” (Romans 13:14).

A – Reject every impure thought in less than five seconds by saying “no”.

And say it with the authority of Jesus Christ. “In the name of Jesus, NO! » You don’t have more than five seconds. Give this thought more unopposed time, and it will lodge itself with such force that it will be almost immovable. Say it out loud if you have the courage. Be tough and combative. As John Owen said, “Kill sin or it will kill you.” » Strike fast and strike hard. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

M – Keep your mind firmly focused on Christ as the highest satisfaction.

Saying “no” won’t be enough. You have to move from defense to attack. Fight fire with fire. Attack the promises of sin with the promises of Christ. The Bible calls impure desires “deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22). They are lies. They promise more than they can deliver. The Bible calls them the “desires which you formerly had, when you were ignorant” (1 Peter 1:14). Only fools give in to them. “He suddenly began to follow her, like an ox going to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). Deception is defeated by truth. Ignorance is overcome by knowledge. This must be glorious truth and magnificent knowledge. This is why I wrote, “See and Savor Jesus Christ”. We must fill our minds with the promises and higher pleasures of Jesus. Then, after saying “NO,” we must turn to and maintain ourselves in them immediately.

U – Use and keep the promise and pleasure of Christ to push other images from your mind.  

Keep your eyes on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:2). This is where many fail. They give in too soon. They say, “I tried to push them away, but it didn’t work.” » I then answer: “How long have you tried? How much have you exercised your mind? »The mind is a muscle. You can contract it forcefully. Take over the kingdom with violence (Matthew 11:12). Be brutal. Use the promise of Christ and hold it before your eyes. Hold it. Hold her! Don’t let go! Continue to hold it without giving in! How long? As long as it takes. Beat you! For Christ’s sake, fight until you win! If an electric garage door was about to crush your child, you would hold it with all your might and call for help, and you would hold it, and hold it, and hold it, and hold it.

A – Rejoice your heart with higher satisfaction.

Develop the skills necessary for you to find your happiness in Christ. One of the reasons impure desires reign in so many people is because Christ has so little appeal. We indulge in deception because we have little pleasure in Christ. Don’t say, “It’s not me.” » What steps have you taken to awaken your affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don’t be fatalistic. You were created to cherish Christ with all your heart – more than you cherish sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Beg God for the satisfaction you do not have: “Satisfy us every morning with your goodness, and we will live in joy and gladness all our lives. » (Psalm 90:14) Then look and look and look again at the most magnificent Person in the universe until you see Him for who He is.

E – Commit to avoiding idleness and other vulnerable behaviors by engaging in meaningful activities.

Impure desires grow quickly in the garden of leisure. Find a good work to do, and do it with all your might. “Have zeal, not laziness. Be earnest in spirit and serve the Lord” (Romans 12:11). “Be firm, unwavering. Work better and better in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Dedicate yourselves to every good work. Get up and do something. Sweep a room. Drive in a nail. Write a letter. Fix a faucet. And do it for Jesus’ sake. You are made to manage and create. Christ died to make you “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Replace impure desires with a passion for good works.


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