It’s no secret. Lust and desire are taking out men left and right.
Many men have wrestled with the temptation and sin of lust, and while many know how to handle the feeling in a healthy way, there are others that are still struggling. Whether it is an addiction to pornography, desire to commit adultery, or an emotional affair, lust opens the door for allowing the enemy to ruin our relationships and families.
Acting on temptations makes men more vulnerable to divorce, depression, and overwhelming guilt, leaving them unable to live their life freely for God. If men do not take necessary precautions and stay focused on their goals, then they will leave themselves open to sexual sin. Men need to develop support systems that help to protect them. Even the kindest and sweetest of guys can fall victim if they are not careful.
Men have to work diligently to create an environment that lessens the temptation around them. Many are setting themselves up for failure and don’t even know it. Learn the ways that even the “good guys” can fall for feelings of lust and how they can avoid those traps.
Lack of Spirituality
When a man’s spiritual side is lacking, much like their mental health, it can deteriorate quickly and cause serious problems. A lack of deep prayer and few encounters with God makes a man’s vulnerability to temptation sky high. When things are stressful or hard, it is easier for a man to compromise and look for something to fill their void. However, with a strong relationship to God, they are more likely to turn to faith over lustful temptations.
Some men ignore the power and strength the gospel has. If they go long enough without remembering the life-altering power of the resurrection, it’s easy to feel powerless and trapped. However, God’s desire is for men to experience the fullness of forgiveness, redemption and sanctification. When men acknowledge the power of God, they realize that they are not fighting temptation alone or with their own strength. They have God to push them through and help each step of the way.
Losing Focus on Mental Health
Sooner or later, the temptation of lust will sneak up on a man. Stress and solitude are a major precursor for sexual sin. They provide a deadly combination for secret sins to grow. For example, working late without safeguards could be a gateway to a porn addiction. The stress of the job and consistent loneliness from it gives the man a need to seek out some relief. Men that don’t focus on their mental health will only be tempted by not only sexual sin, but sin in general.
Mental health is not always a fun topic to discuss, but it’s important for men to be conscious of how stress, anger, sadness, and life changes affect them. A man may have convinced himself that it is only a one-time thing, but it flourishes into something much bigger. The guilt that is associated with these actions will eat a man alive. If they continue to avoid their mental health, then the guilt will only make the situation worse with each day. This leads to more sexual sin.
Minimizing the Sin
If a man thinks his sin is small or something that can be brushed off, then the chances of them sharing or confessing the sin is virtually zero. It can be easy to put themselves in this realm of thought until the guilt dissipates, however it is a life. Sin is sin, and it needs to be dealt with instead of covered up. It can be easy to get into this mindset, especially when men look at the sins of others. Once they start comparing their sins to other guys, they are able to minimize their own. Thoughts like “well I didn’t go that far,” or “I only did it once, he did it 10 times” help men to justify their actions. They can then hide their secrets with less guilt. On the flip side, they might see others sins and it make them feel worse about their own. It might instill a fear in them, so that men don’t want to share how badly they screwed up.
Failure to Create Meaningful Relationships
Nothing sets men up for failure more than being unable to create meaningful, authentic, and deep relationships with others. These relationships aren’t just limited to a significant other, but making real connections with other men and Christians as well. Christ-centered relationships that are built on communication, openness, and honesty are pivotal in helping to beat temptation. It’s important for men to know that they aren’t alone in combatting this sin. If men avoid the deep connections and authentic questions about life, God and faith, then they are going to be more susceptible to the enemy. Men should be excited to live their faith and share it with fellow Christians, even the tough topics such as lust, temptation and adultery. Men should be able to talk about their problems with other Christians without the fear of feeling judged or ridiculed. The fear that one will be shunned is a major reason why men often avoid creating better and more intimate friendships.
Keeping Personal Struggles to Themselves
Men may intentionally close down any conversation they see as touchy or making them feel vulnerable. When it comes to sin and struggle, they are likely to keep the problems under wraps as their secret because of fear. Sharing problems with temptation is difficult, no doubt, but the best way to grow and move forward is by having those tough conversations. Men who create an open dialogue with their spouse about temptation are far better off overall because they can work on the problem together.
Some men keep the secret so close to themselves that they compartmentalize their life. They end up living a double life – church life and personal life – where they attempt to keep their lustful sins far away from God. Eventually this will catch up to them. God wants all of one’s heart and life, not just part of it.
There needs to be more conversation on the topic so that men have a stronger support system to be able to protect themselves. If you someone struggling with temptation, ask how you can help them and encourage them to watch out for these pitfalls.