This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Battling Lust

I concluded the sermon on Sunday by mentioning John Piper's "ANTHEM" strategy for battling lust. The entire article can be found here and I highly commend it to you. In this week's post, I want to highlight one portion of that strategy.  

If you recall from my hurried explanation—where does the time go during a sermon?—the acronym ANTHEM stands for Avoid ("sights and situations that arouse unfitting desire"); No ("say no to every lustful thought"); Turn ("the mind forcefully toward Christ as a superior satisfaction"); Hold ("the promise and the pleasure of Christ firmly in your mind until it pushes the other images out"); Enjoy ("a superior satisfaction"); and Move ("into a useful activity").

I want you to spend a moment thinking more fully on the "E" in Anthem.  Piper writes:
ENJOY a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ. One reason lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal. We default to deceit because we have little delight in Christ. Don't say, "That's just not me." What steps have you taken to waken affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don't be fatalistic. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart – more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don't have: "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14). Then look, look, look at the most magnificent Person in the universe until you see him the way he is
Many have made a very foolish trade.  They have traded Christ and the joy of obedience to Him for passing pleasure that can bring no long-term satisfaction.  There is a passage of Scripture I love to mention at weddings that I didn't have the chance to share yesterday.  In Jeremiah 2:11-13, God declares: 
Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
To forsake water from fresh springs for the sludge from a broken cistern is a foolish trade.  To forsake the God who is a fountain of living waters for the sludge that immorality promises is a far more foolish trade.

Press on in your sanctification!  Do not become complacent in your battle with immorality.  Flee youthful lusts (1 Tim. 2:22).  Strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

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