When I was a teenager, I was consumed with thoughts of sex.
I thought about it a lot. I watched porn when I had access to it. I found a way to get my hands on magazines like Hustler and Playboy.
All of this distorted my view of women. I saw them as sex objects.
It’s strange being so vulnerable. I guess it’s uncomfortable to be open about my past, especially when it is something I am not proud of.
The person I was back then is drastically different than the person I am today.
At the age of 19 years old, I entered into a relationship with Jesus.
Over time, God changed my heart from the inside out. One of the major things God worked on for me was lust.
Of course, I’m a work in progress. I’m not perfect in this area (nor any other area). So, this is something that God continues to work on in me.
Now that my own 2 boys are teenagers (13 and 16), I have to force myself to have tough conversations about this topic with them.
To help them avoid the mistakes I made in the past.
I also think this is a topic that needs to be discussed in a youth ministry setting.
And that’s why we created this lesson.
Hope that it is helpful for your students.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON LUST
Bible: 1 John 2:15-17
Bottom line: Each of us are a person of great worth to God.
Lesson disclaimer: It is probably a good idea to notify parents prior to the teaching due to conversations about lust and sexual desire.
- Current magazines
- Poster board for each group of 4-5 teens
- Glue sticks
Give each group of 4 to 5 teens a poster board, glue sticks, scissors and place the magazines around the room.
Say: How would you explain the world we live in to someone who is new here? To your grandparents?
Create a poster board explaining ‘the world you live in’.
What is teen culture like?
What is popular?
Divide the youth into teams of 4 to 5 people.
You have 15 minutes to create your poster.
Give each group a chance to share and explain their posters.
After the activity, ask:
What common themes did you see in our posters?
What are the values you see in these pictures?
What other pictures would you have included if you could have found them?
We live in a different world than your grandparents, right?
You have Snapchat.
Imagine trying to explain Snapchat to your grandparents or their parents… what would you say?
Give the teens a chance to try to explain.
Read the Snapchat description from the Apple App Store.
The cool thing about Snapchat is that your pictures are ‘disposable’ – you can make them disappear after a short time.
But what are some of the dangers with an app like this?
Assure the teens that you know of some of the photos they see from friends on Snapchat.
And honestly, do you think those photos just disappear forever??
Now today isn’t a ‘bash Snapchat’ day, but let’s be honest – if you are on Snapchat, you can and most likely have seen pictures that aren’t ones you would print out and put on a poster to show your grandparents.
Am I right?
And imagine: How many of those photos are ones you would or would not want to be shown at church?
And Snapchat isn’t the only example of the culture we live in.
Share examples from your childhood of commercials and compare them to highly specialized commercials of today such as Victoria Secret.
Our world today (point to the posters) is different.
Read 1 John 2:15-17.
Scripture uses the phrase ‘the world’ over and over to describe a certain way of thinking and living – a certain way of living that is opposite to the way of life in Christ.
Let’s look at what these differences could be.
Use a poster board, whiteboard, or techie option and write ‘the world’ on one side with a line down the middle and ‘the way of Christ’ on the other.
What words would you use to describe ‘the world’?
Write down their answers.
Now what words would you use to describe the way of Christ?
Write down their answers.
Okay. Let’s focus on the word used a few times in this scripture: Lust.
How would you define Lust?
Here’s the definition: Lust – very strong sexual desire.
Synonyms: sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, ardor, desire, passion.
And notice the way the scripture makes it even more specific in verse 16: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes…”
It’s important to know that sex is not evil – God created humans and our bodies.
God created sex.
But it’s about sex in the way God designed it: in marriage; a covenant relationship.
Why? Why do you think God designed sex in a covenant marital relationship?
Give the teens a chance to answer.
I think the answer is because God loves us and knows that without marriage, sex will hurt us and others.
It’s interesting that right after this passage talks about lust, it says that when we do the will of God, it brings life.
The world and its lusts bring pain, hurt, and death.
So, how do you know if you are lusting?
Give the teens a chance to answer.
A great test of whether it is lust is to ask this question: Am I looking at the picture or this person as a child of God?
Would the thoughts I’m having honor them as a person God loves?
Because those questions really do remind us to think of God’s will not only for us, but the other person.
This applies to conversations, pictures, situations, and thoughts.
Am I loving and honoring this person as Christ would want me to?
Because at the heart of lust is this very dangerous line of viewing another as less; as an object.
This line is very easy to cross when it’s just you and a screen or a camera.
Those things don’t just disappear – maybe the photo is gone but it’s mark is not gone.
Be honest with yourself and really think about the situations you place yourself in – whether virtually or in person – are you setting yourself or others up to be less?
Are you looking at a person God loves with eyes of lust that just make them an object?
And this harms not only that person, whether you know them or not, but more, it harms you.
It makes YOU less.
And the world WANTS you to view yourself and others as less, but God desires for each of us to know and live as the people of deep worth that we are.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What other pictures would you add to ‘the world’ posters we made?
- Why do you think so many teens view themselves ‘as less’?
- How does it make you feel to know that God views each of us as a person of deep worth?
- How could this help others with lust?
- What situations make lust a real issue for teens?
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