“Lust” by Dr. Dan Allender

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Many men and women, molested as children, become sex addicts.  This excerpt is from an article by Dr. Dan Allender dealing with the spiritual aspects of such addiction.  Dr. Allender is the author of “The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse” (1990).

“…God made us with desire – desire for intimate relationship with Him and for meaningful service in His world.  The Fall perverted those desires.  The quest for intimacy was replaced by a desire for its quickest counterfeit: illicit sexual pleasure. Our God-given desire for meaningful service was twisted to a lust for power over others.  The longing for impact became a lust for control.

These counterfeits appeal to us because they seek to replace God and His high standards with something that is familiar and undemanding.  Paul says fallen man did not worship God but replaced him with the creature (Rom. 1: 18-23).  The creature does not require repentance or gratitude.  The creature does not demand brokenness or service.  Creature worship only requires denying the true emptiness inside and hiding the shame that arises in turning our back on God and others.

…[Changing this form of lust] not only requires giving up something that has worked, to some extent, to fill our empty hearts, but it also necessitates embracing a God who invites us to experience what we deeply despise – brokenness, poverty, weakness, and dependency…Even if the lust is destructive and life-threatening it may be preferable to a God who calls us to love those who harm us…

[T]wo contemporary Christian routes for dealing with lust …at times make the problem worse.  These two routes – self-denial and self-enhancement…often lead to even greater struggles with lust and addiction…

[The first can result in] self-hatred, shame, and contempt which lead to increased sexual struggles.  After decades of failure many with this view either conclude they are oppressed by demons or doubt their salvation.

Another approach to lust is found in an adaptation of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step recovery process.  This approach sees lust as a symptom of deeper hurt. The cure is to admit that everyone is addicted. Once denial is removed the shame of feeling deficient can be eliminated and the real roots of the problem – loneliness, insecurity, and past trauma – can be healed and the addiction controlled.

…[This] second approach may increase self-absorption…[replacing] sexual lusts…with new, equally strong addictions… [such as ‘groupaholism’]…

Why Discipline Isn’t Enough

Lust is a failure to exercise the will toward righteousness…It is crucial to view lust as a product of hatred: hatred of our loneliness and our circumstances and hatred of the God who requires us to love in spite of our pain.  Lustful addictions are the vehicle to flee from the ache and use our helplessness as an excuse not to love others and God.

…Many times a lust problem is easier to bear than a deep wound that seems impossible to erase.

…The brutal power of lust will not succumb to any force of the human will unless the heart is captured by the glory and tenderness of the gospel.”



Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse

4 responses to ““Lust” by Dr. Dan Allender

  1. Dear Anna,
    A very deep and thought provoking post.There is so much here that I am afraid I will need to study this more deeply than just giving it a cursory read.
    Dr.Allender makes a very strong case in tying the issues of power and control over others to The Fall,however what strikes me most is this last paragraph:
    “…The brutal power of lust will not succumb to any force of the human will unless the heart is captured by the glory and tenderness of the gospel.”

    The power of the gospel remains the single most effective antidote to negate the effects of The Fall ever made available to mankind,yet at the same time it is the most widely ignored by the billions of people searching for solutions to their own brokenness.

    Can there be any more powerful,deceptive agent of darkness than the human will that refuses to acknowledge God? For out of this comes the very things Dr.Allender writes about:lust,abuse of power,control over others,etc.

    To my way of thinking this is one of the greatest mysteries of all time:that God loved every last one of us regardless of nationality or race,so much that He extended life to us all through the life,death,and resurrection of His only Son….and by and large this gift is rejected by all but a relative few.My finite mind can hardly grasp this,yet I can never forget that at one time I was numbered among them!

    Thank you Anna for another challenging post. I have come to the place that I eagerly await each Sunday’s offering from you!


  2. Q's Corner

    As usual you have again connected to many of my life long struggles, because of the sins of others trespassing into my life without my permission. Introducing me to things No Child should ever even know about, much less experience. Thieves and robbers is what the bible calls them. I just recently removed another abuser from my life! May they return to one who sent them and that is not the Lord either.

    • I completely understand your sentiment, Q. You make an important point. Because of the sins of others trespassing into our lives, as you so aptly put it, we may face a lifetime of struggle with sexuality. Even children not molested are sexualized far too early, in our culture. Victims alternate between guilt and self-degradation, in a desperate search for love and release. But the sins inflicted on children are not sins by them. Jesus specifically said, ” ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea‘ ” (Matt. 18: 6).

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