This past Saturday we put on a seminar for men and young men at our church called Pure Life: Cleansing the Heart of Sexual Lust. I was privileged to speak at this event as were two other pastors, one of which was our senior pastor, Dan Kirk. Dan’s talk was titled Understanding the Heart of Sexual Lust and his main premise was that in the fight against sexual lust the battle begins on the level our desires. That thought may not be new to you, but Dan’s prescription may be. He taught that because we have sinful hearts, there is no outside source of temptation needed, (pornographic websites, tv commercials, etc.) for us to desire something we shouldn’t, therefore, we need to confess our sinful desires as well as our sinful words, actions, and thoughts.
Our hearts simply manufacture sinful desire on their own, which is why Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander (Matthew 15:19). We must, then, ask the Lord for forgiveness even if a desire for something sinful pops into our hearts seemingly out of nowhere. Why? Because the desire didn’t come out of nowhere… it came from your heart. You say, “But how can I be responsible for that desire when I didn’t choose it?” Well, if our very nature is sinful, then we are sinners; that’s who we are. And if that’s who we are, then the sin in our lives is not just a series of choices that are thought-out intentionally (though those choices are a part of it); it also includes unconscious sin that flows out of our nature as sinners. After all, in the famous text on the progression of sin, James writes, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (James 1:14). The immoral desire in this verse (lust) does not come from Satan or some other outside source… it comes from within.
You may say, “But sometimes Satan is responsible for tempting us.” Yes, but we cannot ultimately blame Satan because he would have nothing to work with if we did not have sinful hearts. It’s not just the conscious, willful sins that we need to confess and bring into the light of Christ, but also the sins that are there because our hearts are always actively desiring someone or something, whether we realize it or not. Stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll be writing about one of the reasons I think we balk at this prescription.