The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I am greatly in need of help. I'm having a serious problem of looking at females. I'm not mental removing clothing or lusting after them, but I still feel that I'm committing a wrong and I'm sinning. I feel that I need to stop looking anywhere but their faces, but my eyes automatically go to other areas, and I feel disgusted with myself. I really want to live for God, and I really just wish he would remove my desire toward women entirely. But He never does. I feel sad for looking, since I will remain single for quite a while (probably forever). Please help me.


Answer

There is a problem when someone claims to know he is sinning, but can't define what it is that he is doing wrong.

James details the process of sin in this fashion: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). The steps are:

  1. Desires: Each of us is born with a normal, natural set of desires. The physical desires are the consequence of the operation of our bodies. We also have spiritual desires, such as not wanting to be alone, wanting to be liked by others, or wanting something pretty.
  2. Temptation: Satan tries to place us in situations where it appears that the satisfaction of a desire will require the breaking of a law of God. Temptation is the forcing of a choice to be made: either to break a law of God and satisfy a desire or to forgo satisfaction in order to keep God's law.
  3. Lust (desire conceived): When a person mentally consents that breaking a law of God is worth satisfying the desire, then the person has moved into the realm of lust. This is when the person justifies to himself that breaking God's law can be excused, at least in some situations.
  4. Sin: This is when a person seizes an opportunity and actually breaks God's law.
  5. Licentiousness (sin full-grown): Sin is rarely done just once. The excuses to sin come fast, such as "I've done it once, doing it again isn't going to make much difference." Eventually the person becomes calloused to sin and no longer feels guilty about what he is doing. He doesn't care what other people think. He may even convince himself that he has the right to sin. (Licentiousness means thinking you have a license to sin.)
  6. Death: A person fully convinced that he ought to sin and doesn't care what even God thinks about his actions won't be persuaded out of his sin. Since he won't leave his sin, he will die in his sin.

As an example, hunger is a desire -- it is neither right nor wrong. Temptation is when you are in the convenience store and see a candy bar, but realize you don't have enough money to pay for it. Lust is when you tell yourself that the store can afford to lose some items and that they are expecting some loss, or telling yourself that you could pocket it now and pay for it later and you accept that this is adequate justification to steal. Sin is when you walk out with the candy bar without paying for it. Licentiousness is when you think it is fun to take things off the shelf even though you have adequate money to pay for it. And from there it is a short step to spiritual death.

That you find women sexually attractive is simply the way you were designed by God. Yet, it appears you are labeling this desire a sin and inadvertently you are blaming God, since you want God to take away what is a part of you. It sounds like you have self-control and you don't let you mind wander into thoughts of fornication or other sins.

Half the world's population is female, so you are bound to see them. Yes, there is a desire to have female companionship, but it doesn't mean that desire has to be acted upon. It is there to urge men to consider getting married and raising a family. It can be easily misused for sin, but it doesn't mean the desire itself is wrong.