Theme: Steps to keep you out of "lust traps" in public places
Recently, I was flying back into the States after a preaching trip to Canada. The flight to Canada was relatively straight-forward and I had only 1 stop-over. However, the return flight home was a little different. There were 2 stop-overs, including a lot of time going through Customs as I re-entered the States. I believe I spent about 10 or 11 hours in the air or in various airports (i.e. Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, St. Louis). Needless to say, with a “4-Airport day,” it was a long day.
This all resulted in a lot of time around a lot of people. Needless to say, on a hot day in July, with people traveling to all sorts of summer destinations, many of the women were not dressed modestly. I believe that some people don’t actually care whether they are dressed modestly or not; others dress on purpose, it seems, to attract your eyes. So, as I made my way through the airports, trying to find my way, one of the most significant issues I had was the matter of some very improperly clothed women.
I will have to say that the Lord brought me though a long, tiring day in victory, even with many ungodly sights. But my heart goes out to others who often have to resist similar levels of temptation, perhaps even daily at work. How does a person keep their heart pure when out in settings where there are a myriad of temptations? Here are a few thoughts:
1. Get your heart in the right place before you leave.
When you know that you will likely be heading into a situation with significant temptation, make sure you are on firm spiritual ground first. You should consecrate your day to the Lord, commit yourself to Him, and pray for a successful and godly day BEFORE you even get on the road. The day that lies before you may, perhaps, be hectic. It will likely have some frustrations, disappointments, challenges, and many decisions to make. The key is, in the midst of all this, you must center your heart and mind on God (see Colossians 3:1-2). You must make a full commitment to do His will, walk in the Spirit, and depend on Him for the strength for the day. You likely won't make it spiritually if you don't.
The Bible says, A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 22:3
If a person is in regular “failure mode” in public situations, often it is due to a battle not won at the heart level BEFORE entering the arena of temptation.
2. Bounce your Eyes [Don’t focus]
Some people enjoy “people watching”. Indeed, people can be interesting to watch. But, if I want to stay above the struggle, I cannot focus on people who will be temptations to me. Any kind of real focusing on women will often be the start of other problems. So, when I am in public arenas, I am constantly bouncing my eyes off potential landmines, and not “locking” on any person or part of the body.
3. Avoid even looking
On one of the full flights, a young lady came to my row, asked me about the seating arrangement and sat down next to me. I could see in my peripheral vision that she was not dressed properly, and in my mind this posed a potential temptation. As the flight was a couple of hours in length, I had a decision to institute throughout the time she was seated next to me. The decision was: “I won’t look”. Period.
Of course, to implement a “no look” policy doesn’t mean keeping your eyes closed literally all day. That’s impossible, and it’s not what I’m saying. You actually have to look at a million things to navigate through an airport. You have to look where you are going, where your gate is, when your flight leaves, your seat location on the plane. But, there are some things you don’t have to look at: What that particular person is wearing, that attractive woman in the checkout line in front of you, a person showing lots of skin. Did I momentarily look at the young woman when she spoke to me? Yes. Did I “look”? No.
Most men would understand the nuance.
Curiosity killed the Cat
A guy who constantly struggles with lust is probably in the throes of a condition I’ll call “The Obsessive Fear of Missing Out” [o.f.o.m.o]. He has a pleasure-driven curiosity that obsessively “looks” for potential sexual objects. All throughout the day, every woman is a possible “treat” to the eyes (at least until he looks and decides it’s not something he wants to lust after). This condition is also the reason men continually flip through the channels on a TV with a remote. It may not be only with lustful motives, but they are scanning looking for the next “treat” to the eyes or senses.
Peter speaks of the lifestyle of unregenerate men in this way: “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin;...” [2 Peter 2:14] Sadly, this is also the template of some believing men.
When around tempting women, victory in the mind comes down to making a God-dependent decision that says, in effect, “I won’t look to see if she pretty. I won’t look to see if what she is wearing is revealing or tight.” My eyes belong to the Lord (I Corinthians 6:15-20). I belong to the Lord, and I “keep” my soul, by “keeping” my eyes in His keeping.
There are a few more strategies that can help us in this area. I will deal with them in the next post.
Having successfully helped men for years who have had sexual struggles, Dave has a real heart for those who are daily besieged by sexual temptation and sin. This blog is designed to be a help to those who are looking for answers.