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Caught in a Trap: How to Escape Feelings of Lust

The best way to combat feelings of lust is to recognize and avoid them early—but how?

Our Heavenly Father asks us to turn to him in prayer when we have trials.

Photo by Caleb Ekeroth

Although it’s common knowledge that lust can damage relationships, it’s still difficult to define, recognize, and avoid feelings of lust. In his article “Love versus Lust,” published in the Ensign and Liahona, Joshua J. Perkey helps readers distinguish between love and lust and outlines three ways we can prevent or overcome lust:

  1. Control Your Thoughts: Our thoughts are the driving force behind our actions, so whenever lustful thoughts enter our minds, we should direct our focus to more righteous topics. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland suggests, “More than one man has been saved from sin or stupidity by remembering the face of his mother, his wife, or his child waiting somewhere for him at home. Whatever thoughts you have, make sure they are welcome in your heart by invitation only.”
  1. Avoid Idleness: While selfishness and lack of self-control are contributing factors to lust, the true cause of lust is often idleness. When we lack meaningful activities, we are more likely to fill our idle time with lustful thoughts. As outlined in D&C 58:27, we should seek to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” to guard ourselves against lustful temptations.
  1. Turn to God: Our Heavenly Father asks us to turn to him in prayer when we have trials. If we pray to our Father in Heaven with a sincere heart, he will remove the lust from our hearts and replace it with charity, the pure love of Christ.

Though lust has harmful potential, our Heavenly Father can help us overcome this challenge and develop meaningful and loving relationships with those around us. Through the Atonement and grace of Jesus Christ, we will be able to cultivate the strength to live in charity and cast aside lust.

Read Joshua J. Perkey’s article “Love versus Lust,” published in the Ensign and Liahona, to learn more about how you can overcome lustful thoughts and form healthy, loving relationships.

Sources: Ensign and Liahona

—Morgan Lewis, Mormon Insights

feature image by jeremy bishop

Find more insights

Read Lynne Crandall’s Mormon Insights article “5 Ways to Guard against Lust.”

Read or watch Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s general conference address entitled “Personal Purity” to learn more about developing healthy relationships.

To gain insight from others about living a chaste life, read “Chastity in an Unchaste World” in the Ensign or the Liahona.

Learn how you can recover from an addiction to pornography by reading psychologist Rory C. Reid’s article “The Road Back: Abandoning Pornography.”

Nervous about navigating love and lust in dating? Read “Taking the Fear Out of Dating,” an Ensign article by Michael A. Goodman.

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