I would tell you truly that the battle is not without but within, we are only tempted outside but what attracts us within (James 1:13-15), you may not be able to change the lady who dresses scantily on the street but you can change your mind on how you perceive her, you may not be able to change what DSTV or Hollywood produces but you can change what you allow enter your eyes.

Firstly understand what it is and what it’s not.

Attraction is not lust, it’s basically biology. You must understand that because you feel attracted to a lady doesn’t mean you have lusted after. The matter is what you do or how you handle that attraction.

Understand this; love is a choice, it’s a firm decision to care, protect, be kind, affectionate (and every other characteristic of love) to person regardless of who the person is, if the person deserves it or even if the person doesn’t respond back with same attitude and to keep doing so, this is love. Attraction on the other hand is not a conscious choice most times, people based on nature and nurture are attracted to different kinds of people for different reasons, some people are attracted to slim ladies, some to fat ladies, some to ladies who are tall, some to ladies who can cook and the list goes on. For instance some decades ago in Cross River/Akwa-Ibom states of Nigeria, the mark of beauty and attractiveness for ladies was on how big (fat) and fresh looking they were, the attractive ladies were the bigger ones, so much so they had a room called the ‘fattening room’ were ladies weeks before their wedding would be placed in, doing nothing but eat and eat the best of meals and be treated with oils and other beauty treatments. And by the end of this weeks of treatment, she would come out on her wedding day, having added several pounds, with skin shinny as the oil poured on it and would be the beauty of all eyes (P.S. my mom told me the stories).

Today even in those same places a lady would probably learn martial arts so she can beat up any one who would even suggest she adds more weight, seeing how she is trying to shed the ones she already has because in our society today, beauty in ladies is perceived in slimness and figure 8 like shapes. Truly none of them is ‘better’ than the other (not considering the possible health merits/demerits), it’s just a matter of people’s perception and personal preference. I’ve given this point to tell you that based on your nature and the kind of information you have gathered over the years to your heart, you have your own custom classification of an attractive lady. So when you go to a place, and you find a lady who has one or more of those things you have told yourself (even without knowing you did) is attractive you will find her attractive and probably consider her beautiful and you will be attracted to her. I am trying to say this attraction is not a sin, neither is it lust, it’s just a product of biology and your mindset, it is normal to be attracted to a person of the complimentary sex (I prefer the term complimentary to opposite, makes more sense). The issue now becomes what do you do with this attraction, truly if you brood over this attraction and keep thinking about it, about the lady, about her fine features it can easily lead you to creating wrong mental images in your mind of her, sexual images in particular; hence you begin lusting after her; you’ve succeeded to reduce a person created in God’s image to body parts. Because that’s what lust is; separating a persons soul from the body and taking only the body, it’s anti-love because it doesn’t care to know who she is, how she’s doing, what she’s going through, her future ambitions or past experiences, it just focuses on what her body can do and how it can make you feel, it’s all about what you can receive when love is truly shown in what you give, it’s the same thing with porn; it dehumanizes a person to just another device for sexual pleasure.

God made attraction, God made love, God made sex and God made ladies. The devil is not creative enough to make anything, what he does is something called perversion; he takes God’s good gifts and twists it to something wicked, using it for something outside it’s intended purpose. Lust is a perversion of the kind of love that should exist with spouses, it feeds from our natural desires mixed with a motivation from hell and a pattern from the devil. It will jeopardize the today and attack the tomorrow.

Attraction no matter how innocent if left unchecked with an un-renewed mind can lead to lust, you can be attracted without being entrapped. Truly, the more matured you are and the more renewed your mind is the more you better you perceive people, not just ladies. For the sake of where you are don’t think it ill to give yourself some ‘legalistic rules’ to help your particular situation, as has been said by many ‘it’s the second look that kills’. I met a brother who doesn’t walk behind an improperly dressed lady, he will quickly walk ahead of her – this might sound absurd but for him it was a good practice in holiness, I know of another who wont watch even a kiss scene in a movie, he’ll literally close his eyes, I know of a lady who wouldn’t give any brother a handshake, another wont have a best friend from the complimentary sex, another wont keep his eyes on a lady on the street whom he finds attractive, he’ll remove his eyes and look downwards, upwards, sidewards, anywards really that will take away his eye from her, there are others who wont receive calls from ladies in the night time and the list goes on. These rules have helped those who applied them in that season of their life, just as a cane helps direct a child in his childish season but has no value for an adult (by the way, my experience is that the more mature you become, the more you guard yourself and your mind, maturity comes with greater needs to guard yourself but executed in different manners). And as a side note it’s OK to appreciate beauty, to compliment sincerely and to notice peculiarity.

A good rule I have found helpful is this ‘if you don’t give it attention it wont give you tension’. You do not overcome thinking certain thoughts by telling yourself ‘I wont think about this’ over and over again, all that does is bring to your mind more and more what you should not be thinking about. You stop thinking about something by thinking about something else, I have found personally that many of my most tempted days are days when I have less work load and more free and empty times and some of my least tempting days are days when I have a huge project ahead of me and am running out of time and I believe its the same with you. Ask yourself in the week you prepared for your project defense how many times did you notice those thoughts if you even did at all? I’ll guess little to none, why? Because your mind was fully engaged and did not have the luxury to think non productive thoughts, so keep yourself wisely busy, books, tapes, tutorials etc. While this might be a sure method, the fact remains that in life we do not have constant periods of such high engagements, we have busy days and less busy days. And you must prepare for both, so I give you a help in any period of life; a transformed heart & a renewed mind, fix the lust issue from within and it really wont matter what happens without. And don’t always judge yourself by your physical body, it’s been noted that the male human can have a mild or full erection without even being sexually excited and can have the same erection just by having a discussion about sex or by talking with a lady he finds attractive even though he has no thought concerning sex towards her, sometimes his body functions without his permission or control (especially for the younger male humans). This is not lust, because lust is a matter of the heart and mind. This is your body and sometimes the best thing you can do is ignore it and go on and like Pst Jonathan Nsaka said ‘dont let your erection give you direction’.

I say some of these things so you do not condemn yourself where God has not condemned you, you do not carry guilt over what God has made Himself because you do not know or have been thought wrongly. The Spirit brings conviction which leads us to repentance, the devil brings condemnation and guilt which leads to despair and hopelessness.

As a side note though; the scriptures call us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), I.e. to judge and perceive things as God does, calling beautiful what He calls beautiful. That means more thoroughly that our definition of a woman’s beauty has much less to do with her height, shape, colour, facial appearances or even sexual appeal but has everything to do with the her inner beauty of a transformed heart, of a character just like Christ’s, of a maturity of spirit, of a heart of service, of a humble and respectful spirit, of a worshiper and lover of God, of a student of the Word and a practitioner of the Word, etc(1 Pet 3:3,4). If you don’t find a sister who loves and worships God attractive, you are yet to get the right mindset and you may judge wrongly even in a choice of a marriage partner.

…for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me

Like I said, lust (like every other sin) starts with you not her (or them). Jesus said ‘ …for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.’ and that’s one reason He overcame every temptation, there was no lust within him so he didn’t fall for temptations of lust outside, He didn’t have hatred within so he didn’t fall for temptations of bitterness without, He didn’t have covetousness within, so He didn’t fall for temptations of stealing without, etc. Let your pursuit be godliness, your emphasis be in becoming more and more like Christ and your experience be continually growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus and you will overcome not just lust but every other temptation that you face, you beat lust by continually looking and drawing to Jesus. Godliness is its own defense.

Practical wisdom demands that to stop a river, you find it’s source and block it from there. So also while an un-renewed mind plays a major role, it goes without saying that you should watch what you’re watching, listen to what you’re listening to, think about what your thinking about. You cant feed your mind with junk and expect to produce treasure, you must guard your heart; from the corrupt music, videos, jokes, talks and lifestyle this world hurls at us. If not, no matter how much you pray or speak positively your mind will still bring forth wrong images when you see a lady because you’ve been watching wrong images all week. And it doesn’t matter even how decently she dresses, if your mind is not right everything will be wrong, that’s why the most conservative countries where women wear hijabs down to the eye, still have cases of rape, prostitution, adultery and the likes. A woman can wear a brick wall and still be undressed in a man’s mind. But you have the mind of Christ, walk in this truth. Don’t assume yourself too strong to be tempted, scriptures says we are they who have no confidence in the flesh, trust the Spirit, trust your recreated spirit but don’t dare trust your flesh, like Paul, die daily.

As you walk circumspectly, relying and engaging the Holy Spirit, you will overcome and you will keep overcoming.

Pr 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Published by William Udousoro