VIM for Overcoming Lust – Part 2: Intention

Intention is all about how we exercise our “will”—we do what we intend to do.

Last week we introduced Dallas Willard’s VIM template—Vision, Intention and Meansas a way to describe what it takes to overcome lust.   We also described the Vision—or Goal—when it comes to overcoming lust this way:

  You will be overcoming lust when it does not dwell within you as a habitual, life-dominating sin.

This week turns to a more difficult issue—the failure of many believers to experience such victory even when they understand it clearly.

With many, this is because it is the path of least resistance.  Lacking a firm intention—the “I” in the VIM template—to do God’s will, they sadly stumble sideways into the grips of lust.

But not all—many deliberately resist doing what God wants them to do.

Here is an example.  A few years back I spent some intense time with a man who had a different vision.  He understood what God wanted—he had a grasp of what it meant to overcome lust—but he chose something else.

Instead of aggressively resisting lust, he wanted to “manage” it (another concept from Willard) and minimize the bad side effects—the angry wife, the compulsive use of porn, the turmoil, the lack of joy.  You can read his story here, where I have highlighted it in blue type so you can find it easily.  When a believer willfully chooses to disobey God like this he invites chaos into his life.

Intention is all about how we exercise our “will”—we do what we intend to do.

Make no mistake.  God’s will is clear:

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

God asks you to use your will to submit to His will.  “Your will be done!”  This is a puzzling.  Why bother giving you a free will if the only way it can turn out good is if you submit this will to His?  What kind of free will is that?

The answer is that your “soul…mind and…strength”—your will—can reach its greatest potential only when voluntarily lined up with His.

God could have forced us to do His will.  He could have made us so that we had no choice.  He chose instead to give us the ability to discern His will and decide for ourselves.  It’s like He could have made a stuffed dog but wanted a real dog instead.

There is supernatural spiritual synergy that results from submitting your will to God’s will as to your desires and every other part of your life.

The more we do this, the more we see the foolishness of going our own way—the ugly and destructive power of lust.  We also learn to love and marvel at God’s ways—the good, joy and peace that follow when we use our intricate capacities in the way He designed.

Do you believe this?  Have you made it your intention to overcome lust?

Next week:  How to Overcome Lust—Part 3: Means (for some)


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