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Killing Lust with the Cross of Christ - Ask Pastor John

Killing Lust with the Cross of Christ - Ask Pastor John

Audio Transcript

"Welcome back. As you know, on this podcast we cover the topic of lust from a variety of angles. We did so again on Monday. It’s probably the category of question we get asked about more than any other. You’ll see all the many ways this topic has come up on the podcast in that digest I put together on pages 309–329 in the new Ask Pastor John book.

On Monday, Pastor John, in APJ 2047, you encouraged a wife to confront her husband about erotic literature she found on his phone. And from confrontation comes conviction and repentance, we hope, which is part of the lifelong discipline of killing lust within ourselves. We must root the sin of lust from our lives. And to do that, we’d be helpless on our own. We couldn’t do it on our own. And so, we are not called to battle alone. Most notably, we have the gospel. And we need the gospel here because the only sin we can ever purge from our lives is canceled sin. Step 1: Sin is canceled by the blood of Christ; we are justified before God. Then, step 2: We purge that sin from our lives. We can’t ever get that backward. Sin canceled, then sin purged — another super important theme on the podcast over the years, as you can see in the APJ book on page 274.

So, using the gospel to purge sin is our topic today. It’s fitting because today in our Navigators Bible Reading Plan we are reading about the murder of Christ in Mark 15:33–41. Pastor John, you have talked about the role of visualizing Christ’s crucifixion in our battle against lustful thoughts. Lust is so often a visible battle. So, it makes sense that this battle is fought visually, or at least in the visuals of the imagination. For this purpose, you use an acronym. You created an acronym for this called ANTHEM. That’s important here, to fight lust, and particularly the H in ANTHEM, which you define as this: “Hold a beautiful vision of Jesus in your mind until it triumphs over the other sensual vision.” So, in the fight against lust, how important is it to have this “beautiful vision of Jesus,” and how does this work for you in the moment of temptation? What’s happening as you hold this image in your imagination?

Well, Tony, I’ve had history with really bad ways of using visualization in prayer. So, even though the question isn’t exactly that, let me start there.

Pictures can begin to displace the word of Scripture as the center of God’s saving communication. And that’s really dangerous. We can edge right up to and transgress the intention of the second commandment — “Don’t make any graven images for worship.” There’s an approach that I’ve run into — it’s pretty widespread; at least it was — to healing prayer where people are instructed to go back into their painful past and visualize a scene of, say, abuse, sexual abuse. And, for example, “Imagine Jesus, picture Jesus, walking into the room and picking you up and hugging you and caring for you.” from the Transcript

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