Diligence

Diligence

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Universal Life Church Monastery

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“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.” – Menander

Diligence refers to careful and persistent work or effort. The diligent carry a zealous yet careful nature in their actions. They have a decisive work ethic, are steadfast in their beliefs, uphold their convictions at all times (especially when no one is looking) and do not easily give up. Diligence is the virtue of hard work, and is indicative of a belief that work in itself is good.

Diligence in Hinduism

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“Who so performeth – diligent, content – the work allotted him, whatever it be, lays hold of perfectness!”
-The Bhagavad Gita 18:45

Diligence is closely aligned with the concept of work. Work is the staple of human life: when we are idle, we become irritable, when we retire we decline. Work is important in Hinduism because it is one of the four paths to God.

This path is called the karma yoga. It asserts that one does not need to retire to a cloister to find God. God can be found in the world of everyday affairs just as readily as anywhere else. How this is done depends on the worker’s nature, and whether the yogi approaches work intellectually (Jana) or in the spirit of love (Bhakti). Keep in mind that the main goal of Hinduism is to transcend the limits of the finite self.

First, let us look at the Bhakti yoga. These are people who bring their ardent and affectionate nature to their work. They work for God and for others, not for themselves. Acts are no longer performed for their personal reward, they are performed as service to God. The person is merely a channel through which the love and will of God are carried out.

An example of Bhakti yoga would be a person mowing and taking care their elderly neighbors yard as well as their own. However this person does not tell their neighbor, for this would foil the point. Instead, she does the extra work with no thought of seeking recognition. Doing so would inflate the ego. In this sense, Bhakti yoga is closely aligned with humility.

The Jana approach to work is more intellectual than emotional. It might help to think of Bhakti as a pastor and Jana as a philosopher. For the Jana, work is done unselfishly, but the approach is slightly different, since they see the world differently than the Bhakti. To the Jana, the idea of an infinite being at the center of one’s self is more meaningful than the idea of a divine author who created and watches over the world with love.

The Jana believe the way to enlightenment is work done in detachment from the empirical self. This involves drawing a line between the “finite” self that performs acts, and the “eternal” self that observes the action. It may help to think of it in terms of body and soul. People most often approach work in terms of what it will bring their body, or finite self. Examples are the money or glory work will bring. But doing working towards these ends only tightens the chains on the ego cage.

The Jana decided that work should be done in a state of detached presence. The worker performs his duties in identification of the eternal, but since the acts are being performed by the empirical, finite self, the true self has nothing to do with them. This is a difficult concept to grasp, but such is the nature of the Jana.

Both the affectionate (Bhakti) and the philosophical (Jana) framework strive to starve the ego by depriving it of the consequences, good and bad, upon which it feeds. For the Hindu, diligence goes beyond careful and persistent labor: it is the way to escape the limits of the self to achieve enlightenment.

Diligence in Christianity

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
-Galatians 6:9

Unlike the Hindu Karma Yogas, Christians do not believe they can obtain salvation through diligence. In Christianity salvation comes from the grace and mercy of God through Christ, it cannot be earned. This does not mean diligence has no place in Christianity; it is key to the Christian path.

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Christian diligence begins with faith and is manifested through love. God provided us His word in order that we may come to know him, and through diligence we can fulfill His purpose in our lives. The apostle Peter advises us the importance of diligence as we mature in Christ, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.” (2 Peter 1:5) It begins with faith, then virtue and knowledge are obtained through diligence.

If the Bible is our path to God, we can turn to the it to understand the role of diligence in the Christian life. The book of Proverbs has many precepts about it, “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”; “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made fat.” (Proverbs 12:24, 13:4)

Returning to second Peter, we read, “be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.” These “things” Peter speaks of are faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, kindness, and charity. They are the fruit that comes from faith and a sign that that faith is alive and vibrant. These things must be earned through diligence.

The parable of the five golden talents is a good example of Christian diligence. The story shows how we should be productive with the talents that God has provided. In the parable, the master gives each of his servants a number of golden talents. It was not said, but all the servants knew that they were expected to increase their talents while the lord was gone. When he returned, he rewarded the servants who were productive and increased their talents, “His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’” (Matthew 25:21)

The golden talents represent the blessings God has given to his children. During this life we are expected to use these things responsibly to increase our virtue, faith, and to help others increase their own. When the Lord comes again, those who were diligent with their talents will be rewarded.

Diligence in Buddhism

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”
-Buddha

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Diligence is one of the points on the Noble Eightfold Path. Right Effort, also called Right Work, involves training and exerting oneself to develop wholesome qualities. The Buddha taught that there are four aspects to Right Effort:

1. The effort to prevent unhealthy qualities- greed, anger, lust, sloth, etc.- from developing.
2. The effort to destroy unhealthy qualities that have already manifested.
3.The effort to cultivate wholesome qualities- generosity, love, kindness, wisdom, etc.- that have not yet been developed.
4. The effort the strengthen wholesome qualities that have already arisen.

Effort is key to this whole process. But the Buddha wouldn’t want us to think that Right Effort just means practicing hard, it means simply practicing right. (Remember the Middle Way, the path between extremes.) Practicing this should be like playing a well-tuned instrument. Strings that are too loose won’t make a sound, but if they are too tight they will break. Thich Nhat Hahn, a Zen teacher, once said, “The Fourfold Right Diligence is nourished by joy and interest. If your practice does not bring you joy, you are not practicing correctly.”

However, this does not mean diligence will be always be easy and fun. Sometimes it will be difficult and tiresome. Buddha taught that in these situations we should follow the ox’s example. The ox marches through the deep mire carrying a heavy load. He is tired, but keeps a steady gaze forward, and will not relax until he comes out of the mire. It is only then he takes a respite. The mire is sin, passion, desire, sloth, and ill will. This can only be escaped by earnestly and steadily working out of them.

How to be Diligent

Today’s world is fast-paced and filled with obstacles and distractions. Technology meant to make life easier and more connected has ironically made it more complicated and nuanced. With all this swirling around, staying committed to a task requires focus. Most of us could benefit from increasing our diligence. Here are a few ways to do so:

Create Goals. When you get into a car, you most likely have a destination in mind. If not, you will just drive around aimlessly. The same goes for goals: they are needed to give us a direction. Accomplishing smaller goals will give you confidence and the experience will enable you to better tackle larger, long-term goals. Track your progress along the way and make note of your achievements

Create Standards. Think of problem areas in your life and set a standard to which you will not go below. Sometimes it’s difficult to correct unpleasant habits, but this is necessary to build confidence. It can help to pick a role model to emulate to keep your mind focused.

Stay Positive. A positive attitude goes a long way. It’s easier to stick to your ultimate intentions when you get rid of negativity and pessimism. Keep your eyes on the goal, and like the Buddha taught, follow the example of the ox.

Release Stress.Find positive outlets to release stress and doubts. Releasing stress in constructive ways is important because it will further your goals while allowing you to release and recharge. Examples of such activities include working out, cooking, dancing, drawing, video gaming, carpentry, traveling, mountain climbing, writing, basket-weaving, etc.

By:
Lewis F.

Chastity

Chastity

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Universal Life Church Monastery

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“‘Purity?’ they ask. And they smile. They are the ones who go on to marriage with worn-out bodies and disillusioned souls.” – St. Josemaria Escriva

In this day and age, when someone hears about Chastity they may think of abstinence, modesty, and celibacy. Those who practice these things are guarding themselves from certain aspects of sexuality. They resist the over-sexualization that is happening in American culture and are sometimes looked down on because of it.

Being Chaste does not necessarily mean shying away from sex. Chastity is sexual behavior of a man or woman that is in accordance with the moral standards of their religion and culture. In many religions, acts that are sexual in nature are prohibited outside of marriage.

Christian Chastity

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“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” – Ephesians 5:3

In Christian traditions, Chastity is identical to sexual purity. This means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also includes loyalty to one’s husband or wife during marriage. When God created humans he declared that we were good and that we should be fruitful and multiply. After the fall, humankind’s sexual desires were distorted and became impure. The Bible is clear on the dangers of an impure heart:

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

According to the Bible, any voluntary sexual arousal or act outside of a union between husband and wife is sinful.

To an oversexed world this is outrageous. After all, sex feels good and is necessary for the continuation of our species. How can it be bad? People who believe this don’t understand why Chastity is important to keeping a true and virtuous soul. Impurity and lust are sicknesses, and when uncontrolled are precursors to other more serious problems such as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Christians struggle with lust just as much as anyone else. Being Chaste is very difficult because it tests our will. As humans, we fail constantly because resisting our urges is like resisting our desire to eat or drink. Christian Chastity means fleeing from temptation and being mindful of the way we speak, think, dress, and the places we go.

Buddhist Chastity

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“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” -Buddha

Buddhism prescribes Chastity through the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is a treatment for life through training, designed to release one from ignorance, impulse, and the desire for sense pleasures. One of the points on this path is that of Right Action.

According to the concept of Right Action, practitioners should train themselves to be morally right in their activities. To achieve this, one must follow the five precepts: do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not become intoxicated, and do not be unchaste.

For monks and people who are not married, Chastity is continence. For the married it means restraint in proportion with one’s progress along the Path. If change is needed, the person should reflect on their actions with an eye on what prompted the action in the first place. Change should then proceed in the direction of selflessness and charity.

If a person is unchaste, they are still trapped by tanha, the desire for private fulfillment. This kind of desire seeks fulfillment in the ego and senses, which are temporary and hollow. Tanha is the cause of life’s dislocation, but if a person follows the Path, which includes being Chaste, they can escape the selfish craving which keeps them from achieving true happiness.

By practicing Chastity, one is moving closer to escaping the self-cage. When we escape the desire for sexual satisfaction, we are no longer shaped by that craving and it’s narrow limits of self-interest. When we are free of that craving, our mind becomes more pure, and that purity leads to joy.

Muslim Chastity

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“For men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward.” – The Qu’ran 33:35

Muslims take special care to abstain from what is forbidden. They do this in part by promoting virtuous behavior, and by distancing themselves from animalistic desires. The Qu’ran is very specific that sexual indecency is sin. Chastity is necessary for preventing human behavior from sinking into despicable desires.

In today’s largely secular society, it seems that people have trouble seeing the significance of Islam’s norms and values surrounding Chastity and modesty. To Islam, the world is predominantly licentious, and we are in danger if we are not diligent in guarding our Chastity.

Unchaste behavior can have disastrous, even devastating consequences. Islam’s teachings about unchaste behavior seek to educate and reform before that behavior leads to disaster.

This does not mean someone will experience a catastrophe that ruins their life as a result of unchaste behavior. Yet this is no excuse to be unchaste. Men and women should practice chastity because Allah commands it, and if they love God they will want to obey His commands. As a person would want to be clean, have nice clothes, and a great smile when they meet their beloved, so should that person enhance their spiritual attraction in order to appropriately approach God. One way to do this is by nurturing Chaste behavior.

Such things are not easy, nor will change happen overnight, but Allah assures his people, “Those who strive in Our path- We will surely guide them in Our ways.” (Qu’ran 29:70).

Connecting the Definitions of Chastity

Christianity and Islam closely relate to one another in their teachings on Chastity, while Buddhism differs slightly. All agree that chastity is vital to working towards a virtuous soul, and ultimately salvation.

From these three religions, we learn the following about Chastity: Sexual misconduct is a sin against the body and God. If we try to resist or fight it by ourselves, we will fail. We need to flee from it towards Christ, who is our strength and hope (Christianity). Chastity is necessary for escaping the selfish desires of the flesh, which blind us from truth and cause us to suffer. If we can escape this cycle, our minds become purified, which leads to happiness (Buddhism). Chastity is abstaining from improper sexual action, which is forbidden, along with other animalistic desires. Key to this is focusing our minds on God, and keeping ourselves busy with healthy and constructive acts, so there is less room for unchaste behavior (Islam).

How Can I Practice Chastity?

In order to practice Chastity, one must focus on improving self-control. This is a test of will and is never easy for anyone. In order to change, one must change the way they think about themselves and about other people. This is accomplished in part by changing our behavior; you cannot just flip a switch and be more chaste. It takes time.

Get in touch with your faith. The most important factor behind change is how much you want that change. If you’re not in it all the way, it will be much harder to accomplish the goal. This is where faith and spirituality play a critical role. If you believe in God, spend time in prayer and meditate upon the Holy texts. Whatever you believe, lean on that and others who share your belief. Let their strength be yours.

Practice Modesty. True modesty extends to our speech, our actions, our thoughts, and the way we dress. Therefore, dress appropriately, be aware of your thoughts as you think them, watch your body language, and be attentive to what you say. Often times in social situations we try to act “cool” and participate in jokes or conversations that are sexual or inappropriate. Resist the urge to be like everyone else, and stand firm to what you say. Modesty sends a message, and others are more likely to be inspired rather than offended by what you say.

Avoid sexual temptation. This involves staying away from situations where you might be enticed into the behavior you’re trying to avoid. If you’re dating, refrain from situations like the back of a car, a bed, or being alone together. These settings set us up for failure; a person trying to lose weight shouldn’t go to the candy store. Just stay away.

Know how to resist sexual pressure. Sometimes at work, or home, or out in the world, we find ourselves in situations where the atmosphere becomes sexually charged. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up, be ready with comebacks to defend yourself. This won’t always be necessary, but it’s important to keep guard.

By practicing, avoiding, and resisting, you will gradually change your thought process, and by doing so will become more Chaste. Temptation is not a force you can defeat by direct combat, just like you cannot slay a tornado by charging right towards it. Since temptation can only exist in the mind and hearts of people, we can defeat it by starving it. In its absence Chastity will grow.

By:
Lewis F.

Lust

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Posted on March 6, 2014 by Universal Life Church Monastery

Lust is a feeling or emotion of intense desire. Usually associated with sexual desire, lust can take many forms including lust for knowledge, money, or power. It’s corresponding virtue is Chastity. Lust is a powerful psychological force that creates an abnormal craving for an object or circumstance. When lusting we see a pleasure that is so attractive that we can be lead to adopting other disorders in the pursuit of it. This is why lust is one of the seven capital sins.

Dante’s Divine Comedy is the most notable work to explore the sin of lust, and all the deadly sins. In Inferno, the lustful are located in the upper circles of Hell along with the other sinners of indulgence (gluttony, avarice, and anger). This placement marks it as one of the least serious sins in Hell and on Earth (by Dante’s consideration). The actions of the lustful, who subordinate reason to desire, often led them and their lovers to death. Their lust was an excessive love of others that put the love of God second.

Symbolic of their passions, lustful are punished by being eternally swept around in a whirlwind. In this punishment they receive what they desired in their mortal lives, and their passions never let them rest for all eternity. In Purgatory, the second volume of Dante’s poem, the followers of the way purge themselves of lust by walking through flames.

An Unquenchable Thirst
Because of our fallen nature, we will deal with lust until we die. The roots of lust are so deep that it’s almost instinct. If we give in and fulfill our own lusts, a terrible cycle begins. Lust will lead to sin, and sin separates us from God. We are warned of this Romans chapter 1. It begins with sexual impurity. This impurity poisons the soul, leading to the degrading of bodies with one another. The truth about God is exchanged for a lie, and the lie distorts vision. Natural relations are exchanged for unnatural ones, and men and women engage in shameful relations with another:

“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” -Romans 1:28-31

These are harsh words for those who give themselves over to lust. We might not think that lust can push us down such a wicked path. But such things do not happen overnight. When we give in to lust, we become numb to lust’s impact, so we lust even more. This is the very nature of lust: an unquenchable thirst for more and more. Unless our desires are surrendered to the Lord, we will never be satisfied.

Overcoming Lust
The battle against lust is fought on two fronts: external and internal; body and soul. The external lusts include wicked sexual appetites and the overindulgence in food and drink. The internal lusts include lust for power, fame, or position.

Our only hope for victory is in the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, “let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires.” (Romans 13:14) This is an extremely comforting thought, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus is not a distant God who looks down on us in judgement, he is our friend, our savior, and he has endured the same trials we endure here on Earth. He is an infinite source of strength, love, and mercy. All we have to do is seek him out.

There are practical steps to seeking God and overcoming lust. We can begin by humbling ourselves and ask for help. The struggle cannot be won alone, we will always need divine assistance. When Jesus died on the cross he overcame the penalty for all sin. Similarly, we must imagine that the person we used to be was nailed to the cross with Jesus (Romans 6:5). Obviously we weren’t actually nailed to the cross, but we recognize that our old way of life died with Jesus. This is what it means to be dead to sin.

It may be that the best advice for beating lust is to flee from it and focus on God. If we look again to Romans, we read, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2) When we feel ourselves “conforming” we can stop it by removing ourselves from situations and influences that can trap us. Sometimes this might mean taking a hard look at who we consider to be our friends.

If we keep our eyes on the Lord, through him we can avoid falling into lust. It won’t be easy, but we can always turn to Christ and His word for help and inspiration.

“My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.”

-Prov. 5:1,2

By:
Lewis

The Seven Deadly Sins

This probably should have been posted before the others. [Original article]

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In Christian ethics, the seven deadly sins are a group of vices that have been used since early Christian times to educate Christians about fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. In the currently recognized version, the seven sins are gluttony, envy, lust, pride, sloth, greed, and wrath.

The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins and mortal sins. Venial sins are considered lesser, forgivable sins that do not cause complete separation from God. Mortal sins are severe sins that cause complete dislocation from the grace of God, insuring damnation unless forgiven.

In Catholic thought, the seven deadly sins are not distinct from other sins, but are rather the origin of all sins. They are sometimes called the capital sins, which in Latin means the “head” of all the others. Almost every sin can be categorized into one of these seven.

The origin of the concept of seven capital sins is linked to the work of Evagrius Ponticus, a 4th century monk. Evagrius listed in Greek eight evil thoughts: gastrimargia, porneia, philargyria, hyperēphania, lypē, orgē, kenodoxia, akēdia. Respectively these are gluttony, prostitution, greed, hubris, sadness, wrath, boasting, and dejection.

In AD 590, Pope Gregory I revised the list into the seven deadly sins. He combined sorrow, despair, and despondency into acedia (sloth), vainglory (hubris) into pride, and added envy. This new order became the standard and was used by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy. His epic poem was an allegorical vision of the afterlife, and is considered a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had formed in the Western Church. Since these times were when the concept of seven deadly sins was developing, we will return to Dante and his work for each sin.

Each of the seven deadly sins has an opposite corresponding virtue. In parallel order to the sins they oppose, they are:

Temperance – Gluttony
Kindness – Envy
Chastity – Lust
Humility – Pride
Diligence – Sloth
Charity – Greed
Patience – Wrath

Over the past few weeks I have explored each of the virtues from the perspective of different religions. Now I will turn to look at the other side: the seven deadly sins.

By:
Lewis F.

Lust

Posted on March 6, 2014
Original Article

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Lust is a feeling or emotion of intense desire. Usually associated with sexual desire, lust can take many forms including lust for knowledge, money, or power. It’s corresponding virtue is Chastity. Lust is a powerful psychological force that creates an abnormal craving for an object or circumstance. When lusting we see a pleasure that is so attractive that we can be lead to adopting other disorders in the pursuit of it. This is why lust is one of the seven capital sins.

Dante’s Divine Comedy is the most notable work to explore the sin of lust, and all the deadly sins. In Inferno, the lustful are located in the upper circles of Hell along with the other sinners of indulgence (gluttony, avarice, and anger). This placement marks it as one of the least serious sins in Hell and on Earth (by Dante’s consideration). The actions of the lustful, who subordinate reason to desire, often led them and their lovers to death. Their lust was an excessive love of others that put the love of God second.

Symbolic of their passions, lustful are punished by being eternally swept around in a whirlwind. In this punishment they receive what they desired in their mortal lives, and their passions never let them rest for all eternity. In Purgatory, the second volume of Dante’s poem, the followers of the way purge themselves of lust by walking through flames.

An Unquenchable Thirst
Because of our fallen nature, we will deal with lust until we die. The roots of lust are so deep that it’s almost instinct. If we give in and fulfill our own lusts, a terrible cycle begins. Lust will lead to sin, and sin separates us from God. We are warned of this Romans chapter 1. It begins with sexual impurity. This impurity poisons the soul, leading to the degrading of bodies with one another. The truth about God is exchanged for a lie, and the lie distorts vision. Natural relations are exchanged for unnatural ones, and men and women engage in shameful relations with another:

“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.” -Romans 1:28-31

These are harsh words for those who give themselves over to lust. We might not think that lust can push us down such a wicked path. But such things do not happen overnight. When we give in to lust, we become numb to lust’s impact, so we lust even more. This is the very nature of lust: an unquenchable thirst for more and more. Unless our desires are surrendered to the Lord, we will never be satisfied.

Overcoming Lust
The battle against lust is fought on two fronts: external and internal; body and soul. The external lusts include wicked sexual appetites and the overindulgence in food and drink. The internal lusts include lust for power, fame, or position.

Our only hope for victory is in the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, “let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires.” (Romans 13:14) This is an extremely comforting thought, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus is not a distant God who looks down on us in judgement, he is our friend, our savior, and he has endured the same trials we endure here on Earth. He is an infinite source of strength, love, and mercy. All we have to do is seek him out.

There are practical steps to seeking God and overcoming lust. We can begin by humbling ourselves and ask for help. The struggle cannot be won alone, we will always need divine assistance. When Jesus died on the cross he overcame the penalty for all sin. Similarly, we must imagine that the person we used to be was nailed to the cross with Jesus (Romans 6:5). Obviously we weren’t actually nailed to the cross, but we recognize that our old way of life died with Jesus. This is what it means to be dead to sin.

It may be that the best advice for beating lust is to flee from it and focus on God. If we look again to Romans, we read, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2) When we feel ourselves “conforming” we can stop it by removing ourselves from situations and influences that can trap us. Sometimes this might mean taking a hard look at who we consider to be our friends.

If we keep our eyes on the Lord, through him we can avoid falling into lust. It won’t be easy, but we can always turn to Christ and His word for help and inspiration.

“My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.”

-Prov. 5:1,2

By:
Lewis