By: Shane James O’Neill
4 Minute Read Time
Super Heroes and Secret Lust
“There’s a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” — Prov. 14:12
Having grown up with three sisters, I’ve seen my fair share of romance films. But romance is not isolated to chick-flicks, as even our super heroes are often motivated to save the universe for the sake of the one they love. Romance is in nearly everything, which translates to sex being in nearly everything. Sex was once a sign that a dating couple was serious, as though that weren’t fallen enough, now sex is a means of fun. Sex as “fun,” not necessary as romance, is something even our favorite heroes model for us.
Secret lust has been kicked away by overt pleasure, which my flesh loves all too much.
Lust Feels Right
These stories have shaped my perspective about what is right, so much so that when the idea of watching pornography first hits me it always seems like a good idea. Lust always strikes me as right. Natural, even. Checking out the physique of any woman who comes into a room, letting my eyes linger, showing a person too much attention because of their appearance, those actions are intuitive — I didn’t have to ever learn them.
In a similar way, too many of my male friends give a subtle, quick glance when a new woman walks into a room, whether we’re at a diner, a café, or church. It’s like a magnet passes through the room and the guy in front of me often isn’t even aware of their drifting eyes, as they continue to talk to me with their eyes passing over her body.
Single guys justify the loose eyes by telling themselves this could be the person they’re supposed to marry, as though they’re just checking the physical form of their potential wife.
Married guys justify the drift by telling themselves they would never do anything more, or that they’re just admiring the beauty.
But if our eyes drift, it’s because our hearts already have, and our bodies are soon to follow. I’ve seen it in my own life, too many times to count, and I’ve seen it in the lives of hundreds of men who have come through Proven Men for healing. There are a thousand different ways to justify lust, making it seem right, but in the end we’ve only fashioned a thousand different idols, which take us by the hand and seductively lead us toward death.
Lust, even secret lust, may be normal, but that doesn’t make it right.
What is Repentance??
The apostle John uses interesting language when he talks about the Christian life: “The person who practices doing what is right is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous.”
John contrasts the life of darkness and the life of god-likeness by using the word practice. What we practice shows us what we are pursuing, and it also indicates where we’ll end up, or the person we’ll end up as. That’s why the person who practices following Jesus is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous. If you’re practicing following Jesus, then you’ll end up like Jesus. You have His love and purity from the beginning, not just at the end.
On the dark end, pursing porn is a practice, looking twice is a practice, flirting is a practice. These practices shape us, they shift our hearts, distort our motives, they pull us away from sincere love and pure intentions.
Related Article: Practices of Righteousness
That’s why repentance literally means “to turn”. Repentance is not merely feeling really bad when we mess up again. And repentance is not something we only do in prayer. The very act (or practice) of repentance is the shifting of your heart. When we practice leaving our computers at work, not looking the second time, putting blocks on our phones, or calling friends before we act out, we are practicing repentance. We are turning away from evil and toward real beauty. We are choosing to not follow a way that seems right to us, instead choosing to acknowledge Jesus and follow His way through life.
The best part of what John’s verse tells us is that righteousness is a practice. It’s ok to be in a process, it’s ok to mess things up, but keep following Jesus, even when you trip, fall toward Him instead of away from Him. Following Jesus is a practice and so is learning repentance.
The R in Proven stands for that value — repentant in spirit. To be proven before God isn’t to be sinless, it’s to be a person who follows and practices the way of Jesus the Messiah. Repentance included. You cannot travel two paths at once: to follow Jesus, and practice His way through life, you have to turn your heart and your body toward Him and move alongside Him.
Seek after Him, let Him lead you, find community to pursue Him with, and stop settling for wondering eyes and a broken sense of affection. Follow and trust Him with the small things and He’ll transform the rest.
Lust and looking twice will always be intuitive unless we let Jesus show us a better way, a way out of our secret lust and into His cosmic hope.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” — Ps. 16:11
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for Proven Men Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.