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Single and Struggling with Lust

Last Updated: April 14, 2015

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Your Brain on Porn and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Recently I received an anonymous email from a single man about his struggles with lust. He asked for prayer regarding his lust, and he made it clear how difficult it was to have a “normal” sex drive and be a single man. He wrote, “Why have a sex drive if I can’t have sex? I have prayed and asked God to just take the sex drive away.”

I know many Christian men who are in this same situation. What are singles, specifically single men, meant to do with their God-given sex drives? Here are my words of advice, for what they are worth . . .

Dear Single and Struggling,

Thanks for your candor and honesty about the situation in which you find yourself. As a recently married man I can understand the feelings you have. It was only two years ago that I was in the same boat.

I feel the best I can offer you are thoughts from the Bible on this subject.

. . . .

1. The Bible is consistently pro-marriage, and we should therefore be also – From Genesis onward, the Bible speaks of marriage as a normal and desirable thing. Hebrews 13:4 goes so far as to say, “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” The word “honor” means “of great price, precious,” and “esteemed.” No matter if we are single or married, the institution of marriage needs to be regarded as a precious thing. Moreover, even the single apostle Paul counsels men to learn how to acquire a wife in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (for a laugh, read my post I wrote about this right before I got married).

When God calls something good, we too should call it good. If I’m reading you right, it would seem that your problem isn’t with marriage, per se, but with the stresses that come with family life. Marriage and parenting are certainly full of challenges, but Scripture acknowledges this with gladness. In fact, the challenges that married men face are some of God’s means of sanctifying them so they reflect Jesus’ character and holiness. Husbands are given the call to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). The married man has to make the moment-to-moment, day-by-day choices to die to himself and serve his family. This is a great calling, to practice a life of true sacrifice the same way Jesus did.

. . . .

2. A single man’s sex drive is God’s invitation for him to consider marriage – Paul counsels men who have trouble with a burning lust to get married (1 Corinthians 7:1-9). He says this even acknowledging that married life comes with its spiritual challenges (v.26-28, 32-35). For a good discussion of this idea, I recommend listening to Dr. Albert Mohler’s message, “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage.”

Far be it from me to presume from your short email that your answer is to pursue marriage because of your sex drive. That is not what I am saying. I’m merely asking you to consider the possibility that God might want to change your attitude about marriage and lead you toward it. There are many good commentaries and recorded sermons about 1 Corinthians 7 and I would invite you to pour over a few of these and spend serious time asking the Lord whether He would have you marry. I would even find someone at your church who displays spiritual maturity, to pray over this matter with you.

. . . .

3. There is no recipe for self-control, only the Holy Spirit – There are many books available that pertain to the subject of lust, books that offer step-by-step approaches to overcoming sin. Many of these books contain bits of wisdom that are very good, but most of them are also just tricks for behavior modification. Our bent toward sin cannot be overcome by a 12-step program or a theological recipe of more prayer, more Bible-reading, more Christian fellowship, and more trying.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and we only display the Spirit’s fruit when we are keeping in step with the Spirit. I recently wrote a post about the concept of walking in the Spirit that you may find helpful. In another series of posts, “Awakening Our Thirst for God,” I talk more about what it means to “drink” of the Spirit.

The secret of self-control is not that God removes the drives that move us toward sin, but that he overcomes them with new drives that move us toward living right. Walking in the Spirit does not mean the loss of our flesh, but a new vision that fuels our love for God and enables us to say no to temptation.

It is unlikely that God will merely take away your sex drive. First, your sex drive is actually a part of a larger relationship drive. The soup of hormones that drive you sexually are also used to drive you to connect to people in non-sexual ways. We are wired for relationships. Second, God doesn’t take away your sex drive for the same reason he doesn’t take away your drives to eat, sleep, recreate, laugh, be entertained, or work—God calls us to use these drives discriminately, and they offer occasions for us to practice a life of sacrificial worship. When God calls a single man or woman to “fast” from sexual stimulation, He wants us to do so as an act of worship. For more information about this, I recommend reading our posts by my friend Ellen Dykas about “Godly UNmarried Sexuality.”

. . . .

4. Find real community – In your email you expressed your need for accountability: “I need to have someone to be accountable to.  Being alone most of the time and single, it is too easy to do what I want when I want to do it.” This is exactly right. Christian community is one of God’s means for healing and empowerment in the Christian life.

Many of our stabs at Christian community can become trite and pointless pretty quick. I’ve been in a lot of Bible studies and small groups over the years, and these experiences have definitely had their place instructing me in the ways I should go. But rarely did we really seek to know one another in these groups.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” The verse indicates that we are called to interact with one another in such a way that we can give honest and helpful feedback to one another, feedback that helps one another see how sin is operating at the heart level. It is easy to point out obvious sins to each other. But our call “every day” is to engage with each other and try to understand the deeper issues, the deeper sins that drive our actions.

James write, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). The church is meant to be a place of mutual confession and powerful, face-to-face intercession, yet today too few people can say they are in a Christian fellowship such as this. We need to dare to confess our darkest sins. We need to dare to hear the sins of others. This is real accountability. Certainly, you must choose to whom and how you confess your sins with discernment and wisdom, but finding that kind of accountability is crucial.

For an excellent treatment of how to do this, read Dr. Larry Crabb’s, Inside Out. This book is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read on the subject of deep change that can take place in the heart.

I hope some of these words can get you started in a good direction. Please take my words with a grain of salt—I can’t presume to know you or your situation from one email. I write these ideas because many of them were helpful to me when I was a single man. Thanks for your question and God bless.

  • Comments on: Single and Struggling with Lust
    1. prayerwarrior

      Please Pray For Street Bullies & Schools. In The Name Of Jesus Christ. Please Pray for People that been attack by Witch Craft In The name of Jesus Christ. Pray for Enemies… Please Pray for Anger Young teens, Young Adults, & Teen Anger, & Please Pray for Anger People In The name Of Jesus Christ, Pray For teens who are going have a baby Pray For The unsaved Ones, In Jesus Christ Name If any of you are having trouble, pray. If you are happy, sing psalms… Pray For Haiti In Jesus Christ Name Pray Daily America is uniting the USA in Christ – Loving God, Loving one another as Jesus loved us & protecting the USA. In Jesus Christ Name I Pray. Amen. Blessing Peace for the Jews.
      In God we trust… “We Got to Pray Just to Make It Today” Iron Sharpens Iron: We Got to Pray Just to Make It Today. n Jesus Christ Name

      (James 5:13) Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest… “We Got to Pray Just to Make It Today” Iron Sharpens Iron: We Got to Pray Just to Make It Today. n Jesus Christ Name
      God Bless USA & Jews. Blessing & Peace…
      Jesus help me” is a cry from your heart. You come to Jesus because He is the only one who can help you. “Jesus help me. My life is difficult.” Open The Flood Gates of heaven, & Let it rain

      Do you have family, job or money worries? Have people hurt you? Do you suffer from health problems? Is there an emptiness in your life from the loss of a loved one?
      Answer: Take all your problems to Jesus. Trust Him to help you. And Jesus who loves you so much will be there for you. In God we trust… ((Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.))And this is our invitation from Jesus;
      “Come to Me, all of you
      who are tired
      and have heavy loads,
      and I will give you rest.
      Accept My teachings
      and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit,
      and you will find rest
      for your lives.
      The teaching that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”
      Matt 11:28-30

      Praying For Others: Jesus consistently employed the beneficial influence of praying for one’s fellows. The Master Jesus

      May God Always Bless You Abundantly I asked the Lord to bless you as I prayed for you today
      For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
      I will Pray

    2. I have been called to write and I am currently studying this very issue.
      1. Don’t seek any advise for anything from a woman, for as much as they love us or want what is best, they are the cause of most sins, lust first among them.
      2. Pray for guidance and for a while, don’t include what a man might do in the privacy of his room under the title of lust, we strive to be godly men, but we must realize our first priority is proving God good not us good.
      3. Don’t let the Devil get you cornered on this issue for he will tear you to shreds, make your priority serving God not The Adversary., and
      4. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, do this and everything else will be given to you, based on what is best for you from Gods will, not our skewed perspective.
      Shalom/ Praise be given to the name of Jesus The Christ

    3. Although i have publicly accept Jesus Christ as my Savior its seem that im having a difficult time making or letting Him be my Lord cause i always for some unknown reason behoove to me that i always resort to that old nature .you dig.Please send me some literature on overcoming Lust and Pride.Thanks.Have A Happy ,Safe,Prosperous New Year.

      • Luke Gilkerson

        @Ronald – Actually we just put out a new e-book last month called Your Brain on Porn which deals with these very things. You might really enjoy it.

    4. Lee

      You’re wrong about that one friend. I was having severe problems with lust, very high sex drive, masturbating 4 – 5 times a day. I prayed one night asking god to help me, destroy my sex drive if you have to, free me from this bondage I pleaded. Soon after I ended up with a prostate infection, and I have now been fighting for 2 years and can not get rid of, despite multiple antibiotic therapy. At this point I am almost completely bed ridden, severe chronic pain, suffering and praying for death at this point.
      By the way my sex drive is now dead, and I can not even get an erection anymore. I say god heard me that night, and he granted that request, he added to it by striking me down with disease. I had often wondered what hell was like, I believe god also granted me that request when he gave me this disease, I believe he wanted me to feel what every man and woman in hell feels, and that is hopelessness, no way out, a suffering with out end, and no mater how much you scream, how much you cry, how much you beg, the pain never stops and you must live with that pain. I think he gave me a glimpse of hell on a smaller scale. My house has even been hit by plagues. 1 year I my house was over ran with mice and moths, the moths laid what looked like maggots, it was a nightmare. My house is very clean by the way. One year there were gnats, gnats getting in the bread, food, they seemed to be coming from nowhere. This year it has been flies, I can even look out the windows and the doors and I see flies, like they are just setting their waiting to get inside. Plagues my friends. I was up and own with my walk in christ, even a time when I rebelled and became an atheist for a short time, I believe the wrath of god is upon me and he is pissed at me big time.

    5. Lust is a sin, it is the same as committing adultery, it is hard not to lust when girls are in skimpy clothing’s but i am sure we have a shepherd God will enable us.

    6. yeshelpme

      Hey …I need help.. am a single man struggling with sexual immorality, bad things I do to my body, it really bad to be single. some times am conscious about this stuff and say to my self ..I will never do this stuff again. but wen I read the word of God and pray, the more temptations come. and I give iN. man I wish I had no heart and no feelings. am a saved Christian man. but confused with immorality. I feel left out though living. each day brings me grief because of the challenges.

      • Chris McKenna

        Hello, thank you for your courage to step forward. It’s difficult to be honest with these issues. But, there is power in talking openly with another trusting, loving friend. Do you have that? Face-to-face?

      • Nate

        Hey, guess what? When you have the urge to read the word of God and to grow in Him, the attacks of the devil come in stronger because he knows that you are a child of God. He doesn’t want that to happen, so pray over it, and ask the Holy Spirit for help. No matter what, asking Him for help will work. Don’t worry, you are struggling in sin, you’re not living in it. That’s good, continue to deny the devil and ask God for help.

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