A week ago we shared an unsettling quote from Dr. Piper about the vital need for us to fight lust or face an eternity without God. Since that fight is so critical to our well-being, I thought I would share another quote in which he goes on to explain how this fight can be won.
Suppose I am tempted to lust. Some sexual image comes into my mind and beckons me to pursue it. The way this temptation gets its power is by persuading me to believe that I will be happier if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier. No one sins out of a sense of duty, when what they really want is to do what’s right.
“Another reason I am eager to focus on the new birth is to help you know what reallySo what should I do? Some people would say, “Remember God’s command to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), and exercise your will to obey because he is God!” But something crucial is missing from this advice, namely, faith in future grace . . .
How then do you fight lust by faith in future grace? When the temptation to lust comes, Romans 8:13 says, in effect, “If you kill it by the Spirit, you will live.” By the Spirit! What does that mean? Out of all the armor God gives us to fight Satan, only one piece is used for killing—the sword. It is called the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) . . . The Word of God cuts through the fog of Satan’s lies and shows me where true and lasting happiness is to be found. And so the Word helps me stop trusting in the potential of sin to make me happy. Instead the Word entices me to trust in God’s promises.
When faith has the upper hand in my heart I am satisfied with Christ and his promises. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “He who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). When my thirst for joy and meaning and passion are satisfied by the presence and promises of Christ, the power of sin is broken. We do not yield to the offer of sandwich meat when we can smell the steak sizzling on the grill.
John Piper, Future Grace (Sisters OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1995), 334. Also available electronically from Logos Bible Software.