4 minute read

The Lies of Lust: Promises That Never Deliver

Last Updated: January 3, 2020

Noah Filipiak

Noah Filipiak is a pastor and the author of Beyond the Battle: A Man's Guide to his Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World (Zondervan)He also hosts The Flip Side Podcast. If you desire to be free from lust, porn, and fantasy, you can join Noah and his team in an online small group at Beyond the Battle, or get the leader guide to run your own group.

The “Lust Trap” can reel you in anytime, anywhere. Its strong pull brings you in like a sci-fi tractor beam. The graphic imagery of Proverbs 7 describes it like an ox going to slaughter, a deer walking into a noose, or a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

Most of us can relate to these metaphors. One moment you are minding your own business, the next you are caught up in an insidious trap, too late to be able to do anything about it.

The Lust Trap is a web of lies. Lies that we believe. Lies that make promises that never deliver.

Lie: This man or woman will make me feel whole and valuable.

The biggest lie that men and women fall into with the Lust Trap is thinking they will find wholeness and a lasting feeling of value from their lust. We typically think of full-blown affairs as the end result of chasing this lie. You think this person will make you feel whole and valuable, so you leave everything else and make your dream a reality.

But upon closer inspection, the dream, the pornography, lustful gazes, and mental fantasies all spring from the same breeding ground.

Try to zoom out from yourself for a moment. Picture the last situation you were in when you got sucked in by lust and observe yourself from an out-of-body sort of perspective. What is going on in your soul? What is going on in your deepest desires?

Some will argue that there are no deeper desires. They just desire the body parts and the physical feeling that lust brings. But I can almost guarantee that your lust, whether it was pornography or just a mental thought, was related to seduction. He or she had a seductive look, a suggestive pose or manner about them. Or, that’s what you were wishing for or picturing when you gazed upon this person.

If body parts are the engine of lust, then seduction and suggestion are the gas and oil.

The driving desire behind almost all fantasies is the desire to be desired—the want to be wanted.

We have a gaping hole in our soul that spews out feelings of inadequacy, failure, rejection, and so on. This hole was put there by our dads, our moms, the guys and girls we liked who rejected us, abusers, ex-husbands or wives, and any litany of harsh words and messages throughout life.

Some of this hole is there as the automatic byproduct of living in a culture that constantly exposes us to the top .01% of “beautiful” people in advertisements, movies, music, and television, and then tells us that we are failures if we don’t look exactly like them (and of course, if you buy the product they’re advertising, you will become just like them).

Related: License to Lust-How Porn Trains Objectification

The hole in every person’s soul is unique from the next, but we all have it. And we all seek to fill it up. There are many ways to try to fill up this hole that are not sexual, but they all share a common characteristic: we need to prove our value.

Money, your job, your reputation, your popularity, your accomplishments, your family, your possessions, your physiological feeling of comfort, and your latest three posts on Facebook all make excellent attempts to fill the value-void we carry around.

I am valuable!

I am important!

I matter!

None of it is ever enough.

Life becomes a constant sprint on the hamster wheel of trying to prove these things.

While drugs give a high feeling that numbs the pain, sex gives a high feeling that includes human embrace and acceptance, something no drug can offer. It’s no wonder we chase sex with such abandon. But we all know the harsh reality: the brief feeling of value and acceptance that sex gives us quickly fades away, just like the high from a drug.

There are two options at this point. You can either do more and stronger drugs, or you can reject the lie and embrace the truth. I beg you to choose the latter.

Truth: I am whole and valuable as God’s beloved son or daughter.

When you feel the Lust Trap pulling you in, identify what it is you are really after. It’s not the temporary hit of endorphins, it’s the deeper state of wholeness, acceptance, approval, value, comfort, etc. (add your own words that fit you best).

Saying “no” to lust isn’t enough; we have to say “yes” to something else. We can’t just stop the tractor beam. We have to turn and run into the arms of someone else.

That someone else is Jesus. And I don’t mean the Sunday school, pixie dust Jesus, or even the Jesus that merely gets you into heaven. Not that’s a small thing, but it really only scratches the surface of all we have in Jesus and the healing he longs to bring to our day-to-day aching, lonely, distracted souls.

If you have put your faith in Jesus, Romans 8:15-17 tells you that you are a child, a son or daughter, of God.  It also tells you that you are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. What Jesus gets from the Father, you get. Romans 8:4 and Colossians 1:22 tell you that when God sees you, he sees perfection, because of what Jesus accomplished on your behalf.

He doesn’t say, “You don’t measure up.” He says, “I love you so much, and I am so pleased with you.” The Father spoke to Jesus in Matthew 3:16-17 and said, “This is my son, whom I love, whom I am so pleased with.”

Because Jesus paid for your sins on the cross, making you a new creation, you are now a co-heir with Jesus. You get these same words from our same Father. You are my son. You are my daughter. Who I love. Who I am so pleased with.

This is what the Father thinks of you. Any other voices you hear are lies.

This is our healing truth. This is the embrace we run to when the Lust Trap comes knocking. This is real, compared to what the Lust Trap can only cheaply imitate.

Your healing wholeness is found in knowing these truths and reminding yourself of them over and over again. Write them down over and over again. Pray them over and over again. Read them in Scripture over and over again. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak them into your heart over and over again.

Related: The Apostle Paul and His Secret to Fighting Sexual Sin

This wholeness is also found in being in community with others who affirm this truth about who you are.  People who accept you and love you as a beloved son or daughter, the way the Father sees you. Not as someone mired by shame who doesn’t measure up. God designed the Church to be his hands and feet, his very body on earth (1 Corinthians 12).

I’m not going to tell you that church small groups are perfect, but they are a starting point. Look at the brothers and sisters in Christ that God has put into your life and pray and ask God which ones you can go deeper with. Then take the risk and go deeper.

The Lust Trap is a never-ending spigot of lies, and thankfully our God is a never-ending fountain of truth. Reorient your whole life around running toward him and his truth.

His love never fails.

  • Comments on: The Lies of Lust: Promises That Never Deliver
    1. Nathaniel Bickham on

      Hit the nail on the head, brother. Many years ago I thought it was nonsensical to believe there was more than simply sexual desire involved. With age, maturity, and much reaching, I began to understand myself and what increased or decreased the strength of my temptations.
      Now, I can clearly correlate an upswing in sinful desire with increased marital tension mostly but also with work stress and fatigue related to chronic sleep loss. Also, I have discovered that there is actually little or no connection between frequency of sex and sinful desire. Identifying martial discontent with an increased desire for sexual fulfillment highlights more than just the lie that sex or porn will fulfill. It reveals an underlying and subversive belief that my spouse can fulfill my needs. She cannot. Only Jesus Christ possesses the peace that surpasses all understanding. Praise God that he offers it as a free gift to all who believe and cast their cares on him.

      Reply
      • Mitch on

        “Also, I have discovered that there is actually little or no connection between frequency of sex and sinful desire.”

        I guess the apostle Paul was wrong to connect the two in 1 Corinthians 7. Glad to hear we know better now in the 21st century.

      • Antonio Hernandez Garcia on

        Holy, Hallelujah, All Thanks and Glory to Our God.

    2. RickyB on

      Why get married if all you need is Jesus? I guess God saw that Adam was alone and it wasn’t so bad after all. Then Augustine came along and helped us understand that passionate sexual relations with our wives is an abomination and that sex without procreation was evil. And now comes Noah Filipiak to write a whole blog about lust without once mentioning 1Corinthian 7:9.

      Accidental oversight? Or is Noah just being a good Augustinian?

      Reply
      • Patty on

        Sir,
        Read primary sources on St. Augustine. When I see statements like this, I know you have been misinformed yourself.

        Study “Theology of the Body” taught by Christopher West. You will be humbled (as I was) and receive a deep understanding of the beauty, truth and goodness of our Heavenly Father’s intentions concerning our bodies.

        I cannot encourage you enough. (This is why I truly believe Classical education is the only true formation for children – it uses primary sources for educating.)

      • RickyB on

        Augustine says – No sex is better than sex in marriage and sex within marriage apart from procreation or out of duty has “venial fault”:

        For intercourse of marriage for the sake of begetting has not fault; but for the satisfying of lust, but yet with husband or wife, by reason of the faith of the bed, it has venial fault: but adultery or fornication has deadly fault, and, through this, continence from all intercourse is indeed better even than the intercourse of marriage itself, which takes place for the sake of begetting.

        Sex within marriage apart from procreation is only acceptable if it is to pay the marriage debt. To have more sex than is absolutely necessary within marriage is venial fault:

        But because that Continence is of larger desert, but to pay the due of marriage is no crime, but to demand it beyond the necessity of begetting is a venial fault, but to commit fornication or adultery is a crime to be punished…

        From:
        Of the Good of Marriage
        St. Augustine

        http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1309.htm

      • Kay Bruner on

        It’s amazing how warped the sexual views of many church fathers have been. Let the wise see the truth and avoid that path of destruction.

    3. Mark Hidden on

      Much difficult times when we face those people who are lying and saying they are always with you in trouble.

      Reply
      • Antonio Hernandez Garcia on

        God will never leave us during those times.

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