Struggling with Lust

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31 (ESV) 

A young Christian woman struggles with guilt, fear, and depression because she struggles to resist viewing pornography on the internet. She has a filter on her computer and an accountability partner but continues to struggle with temptation.  To fight off her sinful desires she has Bible verses that pop up on her computer, her smartphone, and her tablet each time she logs on and she memorized numerous passages of Scripture. 

Despite her stated efforts to avoid internet porn she regularly fails.  When she comes for biblical counseling she is angry and confused.  She tells me all the steps she has taken to avoid falling back into sexual sin and doesn’t know why she can’t overcome it.  Usually people in this predicament assume memorizing more Bible verses will do the trick, or more praying or reading yet another book by a noted expert on the topic will be the missing piece to their success.

While those are all good things to do, they are not going to fix the real problem, which is idolatry at the heart level (Ezk. 14:3).  The idols of the heart must be identified if she is to overcome sin! Thus far, this sweet gal has become a legalist who hopes she will be changed by keeping the law while worshiping the idols in her heart.

It is clear to me that she continues in her idolatry because she is still fulfilling her own desires.  Satisfying those desires has become a matter of worship for her, and practically speaking they have replaced her worship of God (Isa. 45:5-7, 18-19).  Her worship of self is evident in disobedience.

My counselee has to understand she was created in the image of her Creator (Gen. 1-2), the results the Fall had on her (Gen. 3), and then her identity in Christ as a Child of God (Eph. 1-2).  She has to understand God is a jealous God and will share His subjects with no one (Deut. 6:14, Ex. 34:14).  

She must daily choose who she will worship, God or herself.  If she chooses God then she must pursue the path of righteousness and follow in His steps of obedience.  This will be a long walk of progressive sanctification as she is faced many times a day with the temptation to indulge in self worship.  By denying herself and choosing to glorify God in worshiping Him she can and will break free from the enslaving sin of sexual lust.