John Piper: Christians Have Only 5 Seconds to Choose Between Lust and Jesus in Sex-Crazed Culture

(Screenshot: DesiringGod)Theologian John Piper explains what it means to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Reformed pastor and author John Piper suggested that Christians have only five seconds to choose between Jesus or whether they will allow lust to take over.

Piper responded on Wednesday to a college student on his desiringGod.org website, who asked how she can deal with lustful thoughts in a "sex-crazed" culture.

The influential author said that there is a two-part paradigm for transforming one's mind in the battle against temptations, one being staying spiritually fit.

He used the analogy of physical exercise, namely that when people do resistance exercises, they become stronger; while with reception they eat healthy foods and get enough sleep, which prepares their bodies.

Pushing back the darkness, he said, is also vital.

"Now let's apply it to spiritual and mental fitness the way the Bible says it happens. Of course, resistance and reception are not sequential. They're not sequential, like some days you do resistance and some days you eat. No, it's simultaneous, at the same time," Piper explained.

He referred to biblical verses, such as James 4:7 and Romans 8:13, which talk about resisting the devil and testing the faith as a means to produce steadfastness.

"So push back the encroaching darkness just like you push on the floor when you do push ups. Why? Because this produces steadfastness or endurance. This means that those tests — those pressures of unbelief and temptation, those tests that have to be resisted by faith — result in two things," he outlined.

The former Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota pastor also warned, however, that Christians may only have five seconds to resist when lust and sexual temptation come knocking.

"We say, 'No, no, no!' I mean, I do this. I'm not kidding here. Some lustful thought or some image comes into your mind, and you've got about five seconds to decide whether you're going to let it take over or whether you're going to push on it with 'No — you're out of here. In Jesus' name, you're out of here!'" he said.

"You must direct your attention to some superior promise: 'Jesus is better. Jesus is enough. He said this. You're out of here.' And you keep pushing until it's gone," Piper continued.

He advised that resistance alone is not enough, however, and that Christians have to fix their gaze on "only the glory of the Lord."

"The more we receive into our hearts the beauty of Christ through the eyes of the heart as we read and meditate, the more we will have His desires, His preferences, and His convictions. We will be receptively transformed," Piper positioned.

His advice comes after a survey by the Institute for Family Studies found that those who attend worship services regularly are less likely to cheat on their spouse. The study, "Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America," showed that the rate of infidelity among those who attend a worship service at least once a week or several times a month or a year is 14 percent, as oppose to 19 percent among those who attend a religious service once a year or less.

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