Reading Week 1
Day 1: Romans 8
Day 2: Psalm 63
Day 3: Colossians 3:1-17
Day 4: Psalm 145
Day 5: Ephesians 4:17-5:21
Day 6: Revelation 19:1-20:3 (please do not obsess over the “mark of the beast”)
Day 7: James 3:13-4:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God. (Ps 51:10)
Give me the joy of your salvation. (Ps 51:12)
Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Ps 51:12)
I count myself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 6:11)
Help me to set my heart against sin in my body and mind,
so that I won’t obey its evil desires. (Rom. 6:12)
Teach me to master my desires, and not be mastered by them.
How empty and worthless are thoughts of lust and coveting! (1 Pet 1:18)
I make a covenant today with my eyes to not look in order to lust, (Job 31:1)
nor let my heart be led by my eyes. (Job 31:7)
I offer my body and mind to you God to be your dwelling place
and an instrument of righteousness not wickedness. (Rom 6:13)
Sin shall no longer be my master because I am under
the enabling power of Jesus’ Blood and the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:14)
Any temptation I face God has made sure I can withstand. (1 Cor 10:13)
No weapon formed against me shall prosper. (Isa 54:17)
So I delight in you my Lord! (Ps 37:4)
From you come rivers of living water bursting from my soul. (John 7:38)
You satisfy all my desires with good things. (Psalm 103:5)
Your presence is sweeter than honey. (Ps 81:16, 119:103)
Your Eternal Kind of Life is greater than every worldly pleasure (Ps 16:11)
So in you I live and move and find my being. Amen. (Acts 17:28)
Passage: Matthew 5:27-30
27 You heard the saying, “No adultery.”
28 But I tell you that everyone looking at a woman in order to lust,
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If now this right eye of yours traps you,
gouge it out and throw it away from you!
For you’re enhancing yourself—by destroying a part of the body,
so that the whole body won’t be thrown into hell.
30 And if this right hand of yours traps you,
cut it off and throw it away from you!
For you’re enhancing yourself—by destroying a part of the body,
so that the whole body won’t depart into hell.
There are two main categories of looking.
Looking at someone and inappropriate thoughts of desire or sex pop into the mind.
Looking for the purpose of inappropriate thoughts.
Having a sexualized thought that pops into the mind is not what Jesus is talking about here. However, those thoughts must be dealt with appropriately in these three steps:
You must Not Consent to them being there.
Adjust the mind to an appropriate perspective.
Then fix the mind upon the crucified and resurrected Christ.
Looking at someone for the purpose of lusting is a different matter entirely. This is not reactionary to the sight of an attractive person. This is a premeditated act of the will. The will which the Bible calls your heart is deceptive and broken by sin. It desires to satisfy its every craving whenever and however it can without being caught with unwanted consequences. To avoid lusting from this source requires more than just mental hoops to jump through. Here you need to use a technique I learned from Dallas Willard called V.I.M.
Now we will look at our second category of looking, which is looking for the purpose of inappropriate thoughts.
Vision—to see something more attractive and worth having than satisfying the desires the flesh. This will come in two basic parts.
See the Prize of knowing Christ and life by his Spirit.
Expose the Empty and Worthless way of life that following fleshly desires leads to. The fleshly desires must become a flavor that bores you. They must become the stench of death.
The cross and the resurrection must become the adventure of seeking buried treasure. Living by the commands of God must become sweeter than honey on your lips. Life lived walking in the Holy Spirit must become more refreshing and desired than a cold glass of water in the Sahara Desert.
Intention—You must make a solemn and sober minded decision to no longer live chasing what the flesh desires, but rather what the Spirit desires. Job in Job 31 tells us the secret to his success—He made a covenant with his eyes. Paul echos this in Romans 6:11-14, and Romans 12:1. You offer the parts of your body to God in worship to him to be instruments of righteousness. Decide to no longer chase fleshly desires to turn your back upon them. This must become your full Intention.
Method—patterns of life and thought that will transform your heart/will to no longer desire the things of the flesh but rather the things of the Spirit.
On a side note: It is important to note here that the war against wrong desires is a universally known truth. Buddha taught that the ultimate goal was to be rid of all desires, which results in total apathy. Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Hinduism, and indeed most other religions will teach you to beat your desires into submission by following certain rules. While the more eccentric religions will teach to cast off restraint and to give into all your desires. These religions don’t usually maintain adherents for too long, because the folly of that way of life quickly becomes evident. However, this latter religious focus is the present movement of much of America being the general backbone of the LGBTQ+ community and those favorable to its ideals—Which is a form of Hedonism.
Now, unlike the other religions we have the Word and the Spirit. Rules that guide us and a source of power by which to do it. Everyday and all throughout the day we are presented with a choice to take hold of and use God’s grace—his free gift of enabling power—or to do it on our own.
The Method will involve the systematic exchanging of fleshly desires with spiritual desires. This exchange happens by time spent in the awareness of God’s presence, meditating on Truth (the Bible), and Worship (dedication and the offering of one’s self sacrificially to God).
God’s Presence—will become a constant supply of satisfaction.
Meditating on Truth—the Devil, the world, and our own desires our constantly trying to lie to us, twisting our thinking. See Matt. 17:17, Rom 12:2
Worship—We offer ourselves to God, dedicating ourselves to live for His purposes, His glory, by His ways. Rom 12:1, 6:5-23.
Our Desires must be Satisfied wholesomely. They must be seen correctly as not life controlling or even truthful. Desires are desires. They are not you, nor you them. They are a temporary experience you are having. Finally our desires must be ruled over. You do not bow your knee to serve your desires; on the contrary, your desires bow their knee to you under the Lordship of Jesus.
We are going to spend our time discussing more Methods for exchanging our fleshly desires with godly desires. There is more to say about Vision and Intention, which we will cover in the weeks to come. We will get some practical tools laid out for you.
In review, we must simply learn to walk in the awareness of God’s presence—Not just theologically speaking (God’s omnipresence means he is always with me regardless of any experience of him), but experientially (the manifestation of God’s presence). This is probably the most critical aspect of character development in the Way of Christ.
“Intimacy is a spiritual hunger of the human soul, and we cannot escape it.”~Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy.
“Intimacy is the mutual mingling of souls who are taking each other into themselves to ever increasing depths.”~Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy.
“We keep hammering the sex button in the hope that a little intimacy might finally dribble out—in vain.”~Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy.
Intimacy with God is the most critical shift we must make in exchanging our desires. Many of us are committed to God (Worship), but there is not a mutual mingling of souls. We might study God and be advanced in our knowledge of theology (Meditating on the Truth), but there is no mutual mingling of the souls.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.a
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.b
Ps 65:4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
Ps 81:16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Psa. 103:5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.c
Psa. 105:40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.c
Psa. 107:9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.b
Psa. 145:16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
When desires are running amok and temptation is waring against you, you will primarily fall back on one of our three legs: God’s Presence, Truth, or Worship (commitment):
God’s Presence: Why drink muddy water, when honey from the rock is available?
Truth: Do this is wrong and it won’t benefit me, only harm me.
Worship: I made a commitment to not do this.
Use whichever leg will work for you at the time.
Set up guardrails pertaining to Desire, Access, Time. You must have all 3 of these to view pornography.
Cultivate different Desires.
Get rid of you access. Set up firewalls, install apps that block content and make sure you don’t know the password to disable it, You can set up firewalls on your router, so any device on your network can’t access bad content. Clean house and build walls.
Don’t give yourself too much downtime. If my schedule is full spending time with my family, serving, and working, then I won’t have the time to carouse.
Look to Pray
Don’t look to lust, but to pray.
Whenever you see a person, or think of a person you pray for them.
For a lady dressed immodestly, or for which you have a sexual thought about pray for her.
Pray, “Bless that young lady, may she not be taken advantage of by me or any other. May she not find her value in outward appearances, but rather her inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. She is meant to be a daughter of God, not an object for my pleasure.”
Once again this applies toward ladies, men, looking, thinking, or reading.
A woman or girl is never to be ogled by anyone other than their spouse.
A man or boy is never to be ogled or fantasized about by anyone other than their spouse.
You have no right to think or look at a person in a way that is contrary to God’s heart for them. You have the ability, but you don’t have the right.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Exposing darkness to light illuminates the very thing that caused darkness in you, and makes it a light itself. Expose it to goodness, righteousness and truth.This is not regarding sinful practices themselves. You are not looking at pornography to pray for the actors. You are not “hiring” prostitutes to share the Gospel with them. Or any other version of do the wrong practice in a spiritual way. These are twisted lies of the enemy to keep you enslaved.
You are retraining the eyes along with the heart in normal everyday life. You start by indiscriminately looking at every person around you and praying for them God’s goodness, righteousness, and truth. Every person not just those you find attractive. Pray God’s blessings over them.
Here is a schedule to keep to Look to Pray:
Today I am going to look at 10 people to pray for them God’s blessings.
Set an alarm on your phone for 5:28pm (for Matthew 5:28) to remind yourself to look at 10 people in order to pray. (Or another time, whatever works for you)
Do this for 21 days.
Even after your 10 people are prayed for don’t stop yourself from praying. You are building a new habit. Ideally you will begin to automatically pray for anyone you look at by the end of the 21 days.
If you start today, June 24th will be your last day.