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3 Triggers that Drive Sexual Sin

As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser), I’ve gotten better at eliminating the unnecessary things that stress me out. Now that I’m familiar with drains me physically, mentally, and spiritually, it’s easier to say “yes” to what energizes me and “no” to what would create the perfect conditions for burnout and depression.

Similarly, it’s wise to observe what habits and circumstances inspire you to indulge in lust. By identifying what triggers your impulses to commit sexual sin, you can help prevent tempting conditions and enticing scenarios from derailing your sexual integrity.

In today’s post, we’ll examine three triggers that allow lust to gain a foothold in your life. (These are just three of a more in-depth list of 12 triggers covered in my Triggers Assessment Workbook, designed to help you uncover your unique triggers and create a custom strategy for defeating lust.)

Trigger #1 | Lack of intimacy with God

Cultivating an intimate relationship with God is essential to understanding His character and will for our lives. When we fail to consistently spend time reading God’s word, praying, and living out His truth, we become vulnerable to the influence of our sin nature, the world, and Satan. (Ephesians 2:1-3).

A lack of intimacy with God primarily manifests in bad-self talk, manipulating Scripture, or accepting worldly lies as truth. Self-talk such as “I’m unforgivable” or “I can’t change” conflicts with Scripture, which declares:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV)

Reasoning that change is impossible or sinning because God will later pardon us twists Scripture into vindicating sinful desires and is wholly untrue. In Romans 15:16, Paul accredits the Holy Spirit with the work of sanctifying us or making us more like Christ. So change is possible if we submit ourselves to God. Surrendering our minds, emotions, and physical bodies under God’s authority protects us from worldly lies that trick us into living self-centered lives catered to lust.

Strengthen your intimacy with God by pursuing a deeper relationship with Him daily. Create a habit of reading God’s word and journaling what you learn. (Grab your My Devotional Journal to get started with this.) Take any nagging thoughts or indecision to His word to find wisdom. Give thanks and lift up your concerns to God through prayer. Sharpen your biblical understanding by joining a local church and participating in gospel community.

Trigger #2 | Worldly Sorrow

It is one thing to regret sin and another thing to grieve it. What’s the difference? Regret is consequence-centered, but grief is relationship-centered. Many regret sin after being caught in the act or receiving the consequences of their actions. However, genuine grief over sin is evidenced by a willingness to come clean and to take action to restore a right relationship with the offended party. Grieving over your sin doesn’t mean you need to dress in black and take up a season of mourning every time you do something wrong. Instead, it means that you’re more concerned with offending God than keeping a superficial score of your failures. Without a grief over sin that is authentic and truly repentant toward God, it’s impossible to see lasting freedom from sexual sin. Paul says it like this: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV).

Have you ever heard someone blame others, past experiences, or unfavorable situations for sin? This victim’s mentality is a common symptom of worldly sorrow. This failure to take ownership of personal sin conveniently perpetuates a cycle of sin––one where the sinner is never at fault and consequently never required to change. Crying, constantly beating yourself up about sin, and other outward expressions of regret are not indicators that you are truly grieved over sin (Joel 2:13). Again, your willingness to come clean, seek accountability, and take action to turn away from sin demonstrates that you are grieved because you’ve offended God.

If this sounds familiar, take some time to discern if your grief is godly or worldly. Are you more frustrated about the consequences of your sin? Have you been hiding this sin from spiritual leaders because it may result in church discipline? Are you more depressed about being a “spiritual failure” in this area of your life – being imperfect – instead of actually offending God? Godly repentance doesn’t prioritize pride or ego. It prioritizes restoring intimacy with God. Godly grief appeals to Christ for forgiveness and grace through confession, but humbly welcomes His correction as well.

Trigger #3 | Sexual Availability

It’s unhealthy to be physically or virtually accessible to sexual partners. It’s wise to avoid overextending yourself to others seeking sexual partners when you’re trying to pursue biblical purity. Vulnerability to this trigger indicates that relationships, places, or platforms that are potentially harmless are very harmful to your purity pursuit.

If you genuinely want to destroy the stronghold of sexual sin, you’re going to have to be realistic about what hinders your progress. Paul echoes this truth in 1 Corinthians 10:23, reminding the Corinthian church that as Christians we have the freedom to do many things, but not all things are beneficial to our faith. While clubbing or visiting dating sites, for example, are not necessarily sins, they’re not beneficial for women battling lust. If we’re honest, both are routinely used as hookup spots, so why risk sabotaging your efforts?

Remove unnecessary temptation by eliminating relationships, activities, and groups where lust will not meet resistance. If you’re thinking, “Does that mean I shouldn’t hang out with so-and-so anymore?” or, “Does that mean I should stop going to such-and-such place?” The fact that you questioned it highly indicates that this person or place isn’t strengthening your desire to embrace purity. Eliminate any possible routes – via people, places, or activities – temptation can take to attack you. The less available you are to temptation, the less opportunity there’ll be for you to fall.


If you’re ready to identify your own triggers and craft your custom strategy for defeating lust, I encourage you to purchase my book: come home. It includes my 70-question spiritual vulnerability assessment designed to help you to objectively pinpoint the areas where you are vulnerable to sexual sin and provide you with actionable, biblical guidance to strengthen these weak points.

The come home book & strategy guide includes:
● A 70-question assessment designed to help you identify 12 triggers of sexual sin.
● A results chart that reveals your guard level for each trigger.
● Detailed explanations of each trigger, along with specific suggestions and advice for fortifying each vulnerability.
● And much more!

Begin crafting your custom strategy right now by purchasing my book here.

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Which of the three triggers discussed today do you struggle with? Feel free to introduce additional triggers in the comments below.

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