You can blame this one on Andy Stanley too! In his book Enemies of the Heart, he explains the ins and outs of four controlling emotions: anger, guilt, greed and jealousy. He includes in the discussion a different look at lust. At best, his idea will revolutionize how we think. At worst, it will temporarily vent our current our thought progression before we stand our ground on our opinion. His words (p. 197):
First of all, lust is different from guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy in one very important way: God created it.
(please don’t stop here…keep moving with me.)
Stanley supports this point with God’s design of one flesh in marriage, and says that “in a healthy marriage, lust is alive and well — and focused” (p. 198). He continues,
The other thing that’s different about lust is that it’s an appetite — it’s not going away, no matter how spiritual or committed you are. Lust isn’t a problem you solve; it’s an appetite you manage. Thus the need for self-control. Lust can be focused by not eliminated. You can deal with your anger and guilt once and for all. But not lust…lust is rarely ever the root problem. (emphasis added)
This is where a freedom opportunity hit me in the face! WOW. Stanley speaks of “lust containment” (p. 201). What is most powerful to me about this chapter on lust (after I read and worked through anger, guilt, greed, and jealousy in turn) is that understanding is key. To identify lust as an appetite creates not just a category, but a possible road to victorious living for the believer who feels defeated because all the oil, all the hands laid, all the binding, loosing, Scripture confessing, and repentance with tears did nothing.
What would happen if we (and those we know) approached lust as an appetite? What if we went into the ring with lust knowing we had the power to contain it? What would we do if we were convinced that lust was controllable and did not have to have dominion over us?
It is a POWERFUL thought when long sought after freedom comes to the edge of reality.
I know, I know….but what about deliverance? That’s what we hear preached and taught. I’ve taught it. But whatever our training, I hope we can all agree that deliverance begins with acknowledgement. Then we help people address the issue with God’s help. Once the prayers are prayed, and the renunciations are made, and repentance happens in the heart, then we spend time helping people develop action plans.
What Stanley presents is acknowledgment, approach and action all in one. You are a born again believer. With saving faith you received a ministry and a message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5; 17-20). You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). And so on…
You take it from here. Selah, and love to all.
Reference: Stanley, A. (2011). Enemies of the heart: Breaking free from the four emotions that control you. New York: Multnomah Books.