made you choose to write a book about lust?
At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I was tired
of being the guy who “kissed dating goodbye”
(laughing). To be replaced by “the lust guy”
— that’s got to be even worse. But that sentiment
reflects how so many people feel about this subject: “I
don’t want to read a book about it, talk about it,
or deal with it because it’s embarrassing. It’s
part of my life that I just want to take care of myself.”
everybody struggle with lust? Nobody at church really
acts like it.
Everybody struggles in differing degrees. Because of the
incredible amount of sensuality saturating our entertainment
and culture, it is a very common struggle, especially
for men and increasingly for women. I had quite a few
letters recently from girls who read the book and said,
“There are ways in which my heart is craving what
God has said ‘no’ to. Whether that’s
through the music I listen to, fantasies, or the romantic
comedies I watch — it might be really innocent in
the eyes of the world, but that’s lust for me.”
what God says “no” to — does that tie
into your definition of lust?
I wanted to give a definition that, first of all, was
faithful to God’s Word, but also one that could
apply to many different people so that people could understand
the many different variations of lust. “Craving
sexually what God has forbidden” is my definition
of lust. And that encompasses so much, because that can
be the man or woman who’s struggling with homosexual
tendencies. That can be the guy who’s just struggling
to guard his eyes when he’s out in public. That
can be the girl who is flirting with the married man at
the office. We all have to fight lust where we see it.
PE: So where
is the line between thinking someone is attractive and
God created us with the ability to appreciate beauty,
to be attracted to someone. I wanted to make it clear
that the enemy is not sex or sexual desire. Lust isn’t
noticing someone who is attractive or being attracted
to someone. It’s what you do with that. For me,
as a guy, it’s always a second look that indicates
that I’m allowing my desires to take me where I
don’t want to go.
There has to
be a healthy distrust of the deceitfulness of our hearts.
Romans 13:14 says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts”
(NKJV). We can’t feed those ungodly desires.
whole approach avoids the “do’s and don’ts”
philosophy. Why was that important?
Human rules, willpower and effort can never bring about
real, lasting change. When it comes to sexual temptation
there is a desire to make ourselves pure. But that has
no roots in the awareness that only the cross of Jesus
Christ cleanses us. I want to help people truly change.
Root yourself in God’s grace. That has helped me
you name your book Not Even a Hint, that almost seems impossible.
In our own strength, absolutely. Often, with lust, we
set lower standards that we think we can meet. That is
completely the opposite to the message of the gospel.
only when we are aware of God’s standards that we
view lust accurately — we need the gospel. Ephesians
5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even
a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity”
(NIV). We are weak and we need God’s strength working
even a hint” standard doesn’t mean we ever
reach sinless perfection. It means that there’s
no place that allows lust to exist in our lives without
opposing it. It means we’re fighting it. We’re
crying out for God’s strength and fleeing temptation.
women are seen as “lust triggers.” As a guy,
what is your take on the excuse that “the girl made
me think that way”?
That’s wrong. Guys need to take responsibility and
acknowledge sin for what it is. James 1:14 says it’s
our own deceitful desires that lead us astray. No one
else can make us sin. We’re the ones who will answer
before God. Guys must stop playing that card as an excuse.
But women also
can focus on the fact that they can play a part. That
doesn’t mean they can’t dress attractively
or that they must cover themselves from head to foot.
But both women and men should have hearts focused on loving
and serving others.
say lust is not just a male or female problem —
it’s a human problem. How did you glean the female
I got hundreds of e-mails from women. Many were saying,
“Please write this for men and women.” Girls
will say, “I feel like there’s something wrong
with me because I struggle with this and no one ever talks
Girls do deal
with this. They need to be able to talk about that with
each other. It makes the struggle so much harder when
you’re gripped by shame.
kind of a double standard in society when it comes to
the issue of lust. If a male says, “That girl’s
hot,” that’s just how they are. But if a female
says that about a guy, there’s something wrong.
We have to scrap the cultural standards — even Christian
cultural standards — and go back to God’s
Word. God doesn’t provide a verse in the Bible that
says, “Boys will be boys” or “It’s
OK when you’re with the fellas.” Lust is lust.
I use that
truth to encourage men and women who are struggling with
homosexual temptation. The temptation that they are facing
has some unique struggles, but it’s the same lie
that other people face. There shouldn’t be a double
standard that says heterosexual lust is somehow OK, whereas
homosexual lust should make you hang your head and not
expect God’s mercy. God’s Word is an across-the-board
call to holiness.
talk a lot about accountability. Why is it so important?
God uses community and fellowship to help us to grow.
Regardless of the area of sin, we need the strength and
encouragement of others. But it’s even more important
when it comes to lust because lust is an area that we’re
prone to hide from other people. We keep it secret and
we try to deal with it on our own. And that just increases
the shame and vulnerability.
I have a chapter
in the book called “Lone Rangers Are Dead Rangers.”
If you’re going to try to ride off into the sunset
as this strong Christian who can resist lust, you’re
going to fall. Lust is defeated when believers are able
to go to another trusted Christian of the same gender
and open up this part of their lives.
is the church’s key to helping people find healing
There’s hope in the gospel. The gospel addresses
sin and that’s what leads to the hope for change
once sin is brought into the light and we accept responsibility
for our own sinful desires. Isn’t it awesome that
God has addressed these very problems? He has provided
a solution — His Son. That’s what I need to
hold tight to.
comments to email@example.com.