The Lent season is upon us and it’s time to prepare for Easter. In preparation of this celebration, many of us will attempt to sacrifice something during the 40 day Lent season. Why? Because Lent is a time to recognize we have distanced ourselves from God and through prayer and fasting we seek repentance. It also allows us to re-focus on heart and mind on Him to help better understand His Will.
“Giving something up” for Lent is a form of fasting. According to an article in the Washington Post, in 2015 the most popular Lent sacrifices were: Twittering, swearing, smoking, and chocolate. In 2016, I am suggesting something a little more radical for men who struggle in lust.
Starting on Wednesday, Feb. 10 for the next 40 days consider embarking on a lust-free fast. What would a lust-free fast look like? It would be refraining from not only viewing pornography and masturbation but also R-rated movies; television programs that consist of heavy doses of sexual references; random Internet surfacing that can lead to pop-ups and display ads that contain sexual imagery. It also means not fantasizing about pornographic images when having sexual relations with your wife. It is about controlling your eyes and turning away when you see a woman who you feel compelled to lust after in your thoughts.
We are talking about 40 days of being lust free and beginning the process of purifying your mind, heart and soul. Forty-days of not only learning how to honor and respect women, but shifting your focus onto God.
There is a physiological benefit of participating in a lust-free Lent. It allows for what we refer to as “re-booting” the brain. Though the constant use of pornography, the brain undergo physiological and structural changes similar to what occurs if we were to abuse drugs or alcohol. Viewing pornography causes an increase in pleasure-enhancing chemicals to the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. This results in a “rush” that is the equivalent to a shot of morphine. So basically, when you view pornography and masturbate you’re getting high. Do it for an extended period of time and you’re a junkie.
By participating in a lust-free Lent we accomplish three goals:
- We re-boot our brains therefore helping to overcome an addiction that brings shame and guilt.
- We demonstrate our commitment and desire to honor our wives and other women in our lives by moving away from the practice of objectifying.
- Finally, and most importantly, we move to strengthen our connection with God by better understanding of His love for us, while deepening our love for Him.
Imagine how different this Lent season could be if you make it lust free.
Eddie Capparucci, MA, LPC is a licensed Christian counselor with a private practice in Marietta, GA. He has a deep passion for helping men achieve sexual integrity. He also is committed to helping Christians remove their shame and understand how God really sees them. You can read more of his materials at his blogs:
http://www.SexuallyPureMen.com and http://www.TamingChristianShame.com