Combating Lust with Imagination
There is a good picture of how temptation operates in an old X-men film. Wolverine goes into a tent where “Jean Grey” happens to be. Or then again, it’s the other way around and “Jean Grey” enters the tent where Wolverine is sleeping. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that Wolverine is seduced and/or turned on and starts to make love or do foreplay (kissing) with “Jean Grey.” Suddenly, “Jean Grey” turns into Mystique (an “other-worldly” blue mutant), and Wolverine is repulsed and turns away. His mood is killed. For Wolverine considered Mystique to be his enemy during this movie. He realized that he was sleeping with the enemy. Once this reality hit him, his attitude, desires, and behavior totally changed. That is, in Christian terms, he “repented.”
How does this apply to fighting temptation and sexual immorality today? If you can see your “friend” as the enemy in disguise that it is, you won’t fall for it. You won’t stumble or fall if you see reality through the correct set of eyes. For instance, as I shared on the radio today, I was tempted with same-sex attraction in 2014. Over a six-year period, I perpetually struggled with masturbation, repeatedly failing to break the habit over that time. Throughout that time, I was praying, fasting, reading the Bible, confessing, having accountability to other men about how I was doing in this area, etc. However, I couldn’t seem to break free from the bad habit.
Nevertheless, I did break free from that bad habit when I learned about how the demonic realm operates. It has been said that “a problem well-defined is half solved.” Once I discovered from experience and the word of God that masturbation, lust, same-sex attraction, etc. come from demons, then I had finally identified my enemy. Beforehand, I thought that I did those things simply because I sucked as a person. Rather, I learned that I had an enemy who wanted to suck the life out of me, and that in my relationship with Jesus Christ I had all the weapons to put that enemy to flight.
So then, just as Wolverine escaped temptation to “Jean Gray” after her true identity was exposed, I could have temptation shrivel up and die once I knew its true source and identity. I wouldn’t want to continue in my bad habit once I saw it as ugly, repulsive, hellish, and underneath my feet, dignity, and worth in Christ. My identity is “in Christ.” That means that I belong to Christ Jesus, who has all power and authority in heaven and on earth. Every demon, which includes the ones from which lust, impurity, sexual immorality, same-sex attraction, perversion, etc. come, must bow the knee before the King of all rulers in the spirit realm. See Matthew 28:18-20; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9-10,15; Revelation 17:14; 19:11-16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20.
How then can a believer in Jesus be free from lust, sexual immorality (any sex before or outside of the marriage covenant), same-sex attraction, etc? One powerful tool God has given us is the imagination. Certainly the misuse of this tool is how one struggles with lust in the first place, so we need to use it for the purpose for which God created it. Just like Wolverine saw “Jean Grey” turn into a “monster” with his own two eyes, we are supposed to do the same thing through our imagination. If in your imagination you are fantasizing and struggling under the heat of lust, learn to use your imagination the right way.
Imagine those images you are thinking about transform into ugly creatures, just like Wolverine saw “Jean Grey” transform into Mystique. Imagine pornographic images bursting into flames and exploding as you declare, “My God is an all-consuming fire, and I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms with all power and authority…” c.f. Hebrews 12:28-29; Ephesians 1:3ff; 2:6; etc. The more you meditate on the word of God, know your God, and know who you are in Christ, the more you will see of the victory that Christ has already won through his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.
For more information on how you can begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, who came to give you a victorious, abundant, successful life where you get to enjoy God’s love, here are a couple other blog posts: