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Fighting Lust with the Power of Gratitude

By: Kristen Clark

When I was a teen girl, I remember having moments where I viewed God’s boundaries for sexual purity as a bit…well — annoying. Striving for purity in my heart and mind wasn’t easy, and I struggled to keep my thoughts pure. I would find myself grumbling in my heart about how tough the single life was.

Why would God give me all of these sexual desires as a single woman?

What if I never get married? Then what?!

How am I supposed to honor God when it’s so hard?

Deep down, I knew God’s design for purity was good.

I knew sexual intimacy was reserved for marriage alone, but I struggled to view that as a blessing. I struggled to count my singleness as a gift. My mind seemed to be a magnet for romantic fantasies and I struggled to keep my thoughts pure.

As I wrestled through my questions and struggles, I started noticing an ongoing theme in my heart…and this negative theme was directly affecting my victory against sexual sin.

Rather than choosing to thank God for my season of life, I was grumbling and complaining about it. I was zeroing in on what I didn’t have, rather than choosing to focus on what I did have.

Instead of cultivating a heart of gratitude, I was cultivating a heart of ingratitude.

What I didn’t realize then, but do now, is that a heart of ingratitude ultimately leads to a heart of greed. And a heart that is greedy is quick to look for personal pleasure in the form of lust and sexual sin.

My heart of ingratitude was leading me down a greedy path of selfishness. My eyes weren’t focused on honoring God in those moments, but about getting what I wanted.

It may seem strange to talk about gratitude in the same context as lust, but it’s not. Choosing to pursue a heart of gratitude is one of the biggest (and most under-recognized) weapons that we can use in fighting our lust.

Ephesians 5:3-4 hits the nail on the head. Check it out:

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (emphasis added).

As out of place as “thanksgiving” might seem in this verse, it’s not.

It’s exactly where it needs to be. Instead of allowing sexual sin to take root in our greedy hearts, this verse is exhorting us to choose a heart of thanksgiving. Paul is essentially saying, put off your greedy lust by putting on a grateful heart!  

Why?

Because greedy lust and sincere gratitude cannot exist at the same time. We cannot pursue gratitude and greed at the same time. We must choose one or the other.

I love how Heath Lambert puts it in his book, Finally Free: “Greed covers more than just a powerful desire for money. Greed has to do with covetousness, sinful desires, and evil lusts. Not only should we avoid sexually immoral behavior; we should avoid having a heart that is greedy for them.”

For me, as a single woman, I was trying to win the battle against lust but wasn’t recognizing the greediness in my own heart. As a result, I wasn’t experiencing joy in my singleness.

It wasn’t until I repented of my greedy heart and intentionally chose gratitude that I saw any consistent change in my life.

As Heath Lambert says, “greedy lust undercuts gladness, while gratitude produces it. Gratitude fuels gladness and multiplies it. It is the logic of gratitude to be thankful for what you have instead of longing for what you don’t.”

The more I focused on gratefully serving God right where he had me, the more joy and gladness I saw in my heart. And the more I focused on thanking God for specific aspects of my singleness, the easier it became to reject lustful thoughts.

Fighting lust with gratitude is a powerful and biblical weapon.

If you’ve been struggling to stay pure, I want to challenge you to do what I did. Search your heart for any patterns of ingratitude and greed and repent of those. Instead, ask God to change your heart to become one filled with gratitude for Him.

As you intentionally strive to cultivate a grateful heart, your life will be changed.

I’d love for you to comment below by answering these two questions:

  1. How are you struggling to be grateful to God in your life right now?
  2. Instead of giving into a heart of greedy lust, what are three specific things you can thank God for right now?

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  • Rebecca Rodger

    Yes! Finally an answer that can help me! Thank you Kristen for this amazing blog! You are an inspiring, motivational woman and so open in who you are and with your journey with the Lord. Ever since I left school, I have been struggling with fighting lust for 2 years and after watching one of your vlogs a couple of months ago about purity and righteousness, I started to realize I have been struggling with this problem without realizing that it was there. Thank you so much! As to your questions, for me what I struggled with about being grateful was that all my family members were in a relationship, so obviously parents and grandparents but when my sister started to date, I felt a bit left out and still do sometimes. So I wasn’t being grateful that I was single, which would have allowed me to spend more time with Jesus and his word. But what I am grateful for now is being surrounded by people that are such a good investment into my life, the people God has placed me with, for His word, as it is the answer to all questions I have and I am grateful for all the little and big blessings God has given me this year! Again, this was inspiring and I am so grateful for you and Bethany, for being obedient to God and listening to Him always! For your courage and bravery on speaking truth and life into the lives of woman all across the world! Praying for blessing and favor to be upon you supreme ladies!
    Lots of love!
    Rebecca from South Africa

    • Shanae B

      Agreed! 🙂

  • Tangela Dawn

    This was an amazing blog, Kristen! Thank you! This is a constant battle as a single woman. Thanks again for the encouragement and motivation that yourself and Bethany bring to us single ladies.

  • Brit

    This was so raw and honest, Kristen. Thanks for posting.

  • Hannah

    This is AMAZING! My fiancé and i are getting married next week and the fight for purity hasn’t been easy. It’s been a long road with lots of twists, turns, bumps, and road blocks. Even as a Christian, i was completely unprepared to fight the lust in my own heart. There was this idea in my mind that lust was a “man problem” and it shouldn’t really affect me that much. Boy was i wrong. Many Christian women counseled and discipled me through this journey but it was still so difficult and my fiancé and i still slipped up from time to time. I wish that i had been given this advice sooner, because it’s incredible. I’d never heard it explained this way before. I’m definitely going to use this when I disciple single Christian girls in the future…so thank you!!! Thank you for being faithful to God’s Word and gracious to His people in your ministry. It is such a blessing!

  • Gabriela

    Thank. You. So. Much.
    God knew I needed to hear this.
    Blessings to you both!

  • Jiya

    Thank you Kristen. I needed to read this so much. Thank for for all that you do. You really helped to open my eyes on this area. I have been struggling with lust and I can really see now how it’s really me being greedy and selfish and not being grateful at all. I really need to switch my focus. Thank you for putting me back on the right path.

  • faith Neds

    Thank ya’ll so much for all you do! It’s always so encouraging to know that there are some other girls out there that have the same problems as me, and reading ya’ll’s blog posts always help me in some way!!! Could you guys do a blog post or a video about how to be a good example and be good friends with younger sisters? I have a younger sister that is like 10 years younger then me and I have a hard time trying to figure out things to do with her that she and I can both enjoy. I know she really looks up to me, I want to be a good example. I just want some tips on how to be a good older sister, you and your sisters (even the ones a lot younger ) seem to have good relationships! Thank you again for all ya’ll do, you are really helping me through my teenage years!!

    • Michelle Frew

      Yes please! I would also love to hear your thoughts on how to be a better sister to very younger sisters! I am 22 and have two younger sisters of 8 years and 3 years.

  • Powerful and convicting! I’ve never made this connection between lust and gratitude. This post was *exactly* what I needed. It truly resonated with me. Thank you!

  • Reshma

    Praise GOD!!! You are really uploading each blog podt ar thr ryt time!!! I just really needed to understand this deeper!!!! Thank you sister!!! Your blogs are really encouraging and helpfull!!!

  • Great post!

  • Paige

    This was a great post. I will combat my lust (with His help!) with gratefulness! 🙂

  • Bobby Claude

    This is an excellent post and I think it applies to me, a man, as much as it does to the ladies who you are trying to reach. To begin with I will list some things that I am Grateful for. First of all, I am grateful to live in the greatest country in the world, the United States, in the great State of Texas. Additionally, I am grateful for my family, and for the cooler weather outside.

    Keep up the good work, and may God bless y’all as y’all walk with him through life.

    • GuessWho

      And how many pairs of cowboy boots do you own, Bobby Claude?

      • Bobby Claude

        I have my cowboy boots for going to church and I have two other pair of non-cowboy boots for work.

  • Kaitlyn Hopper

    What would be a good way to find what is greedy in my life? Because I know I struggle with lust. I’ve struggled for multiple years. But I have never heard of this before. I really would like to find out what my greed is.

  • GuessWho

    If you see this as a physical/emotional problem instead of a spiritual problem, you’ll be a lot less likely to develop some kind of complex about how lustful you are. The human body is designed to experience attraction, both for pleasure and to ensure that the human race continues. “Lust” is not bad in itself, it’s only bad if you’re letting it happen indiscriminately, which is what tends to happen with people who have had a conservative upbringing. The grossest, creepiest guys I’ve ever met were fundamentalist christians. Think of what happened with Doug Philips. He spent how many years of his life laying down the line about purity, and at the same time he was having an affair with the nanny and climbing out of boys’ windows early in the morning. I’m still waiting for him to stone himself.

  • Ryleigh

    Hey I’ve been looking for a blog like this for a really long time. I’ve know that my lust and thoughts and daydreams were not what God wanted but I didn’t know how to escape them I felt trapped. Reading this blog has really helped me, and now I don’t feel alone I thought I was the only girl struggling with this.


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