Marriage is under attack and it's important we cover our married friends in prayer. Here, Woman Alive's editor-in-chief Tola-Doll Fisher explores the influence the 'spirit of lust' can have on the breakdown of the family, and what we can do about it. 


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Earlier this year, I wrote an article about marriages and families being under spiritual attack and how important it is that we pray for them – whatever our personal situation might be. Following on from this, God has been speaking to me about the part the spirit of lust can play.

In 2014 as Sir Paul Coleridge retired from the High Court’s family division, he voiced his concern and called for the “tide” of family breakdown to be stemmed. Sir Paul, the founder and chairman of think tank The Marriage Foundation, faced backlash for airing his personal views but reportedly said in his retirement speech that judges who presided over family courts “should not be afraid to speak out” and that family court judges have a “unique contribution to make”.

Speaking during his farewell at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, he said: “I know how consoling and good a good marriage can be and how it gets better over the years and also how ghastly family breakdown can be. Something can and should be done to stem the tide of family breakdown.”

I’m guessing none of this is news. Sadly, many of us will know someone who is or has been divorced or someone who grew up with one – or no – parent. What is less known or understood is why. And this is something I want to attempt to understand because so far, finger pointing at a general lack of commitment from younger generations and a failure to understand and respect the sanctity of marriage and relationships - is just not going to cut it. As well as it being woefully unhelpful when it comes to finding a solution.

I believe, if we are not careful, many of us can fall victim to the spirit of lust.

As Christians in the West, we are often not too conscious that we live in a world that is spiritual as well as physical. I think a big part of family breakdown could be down to something called the "spirit of lust". Before you switch off because you're sick of people always making it about sex - I agree. However, the word lust doesn’t literally mean sex. It can refer to “a very strong sexual desire” but it can also refer to “a very powerful feeling of wanting something”. I believe, if we are not careful, many of us can fall victim to the spirit of lust. Sadly, if we look at the many recurring instances of church leaders falling prey to scandals, they are usually strongly connected to either sex or power; or both. In CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity, he said no one does “bad” things for the sake or intention of being “bad”. Actions which are intrinsically bad or evil come from a pursuit of something “good” (sex or leadership) that become perverse. What can start as a simple desire can escalate when not operated within healthy confines.

The spirit of lust seems to present as an ungodly influence, that pushes people one step over the edge of “good”. It’s why men and women from seemingly healthy and happy homes engage in extra-marital affairs or put their families in dire financial situations. Left unchecked, the spirit of lust tells people that they can keep going and keep pushing with no consequence and no accountability. It tells people: "There’s more here!" Even when they can see they are destroying those around them, as well as themselves.

The spirit of lust is why men and women from seemingly healthy and happy homes engage in extra-marital affairs.

In my experience, God never reveals something without providing a way to get out of it, and we have his promise in Matthew 13:15. It says: "For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." And in Acts 3:19: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord."

Look out for the new Woman Alive series by author and speaker Bobbi Kumari, on Sacred Sexuality, for subscribers only, starting with the January 2023 issue. SUBSCRIBE NOW

(Premier Lifeline is a national, confidential helpline offering a listening ear, emotional and spiritual support from a Christian perspective. Premier Lfieline is open from 9am to midnight all year. If you would like someone to talk to and pray for you, call Premier Lifeline on 0300 111 0101.)