Pastor: Lust is a “mosquito bite” that itches more when scratched
A popular pastor has warned that lust is like a “mosquito bite” in that the more it is scratched the more it itches, and getting married does not solve the problem.
Pastor Vlad Savchuk of the Hungry Generation Church in Pasco, Washington, which has more than 200,000 Facebook followers, was a guest on Tovares Gray’s “Godly Dating 101” podcast for a July 7 episode titled “Victory in The Battle Against Lust & How to Biblically.”
Savchuk recounted how he was bitten during an Independence Day weekend picnic by several mosquitoes. He compared the irritating experience to battling the sin of lust.
Savchuk, who along with his wife is the senior pastor of the Assemblies of God church founded in 2003, said when a mosquito bites the body it starts to itch, and the itch tends to send a message body and mind that “if you scratch me once, I won’t itch again.”
“As soon as you scratch it, it itches even more, and that’s what lust is. The more you scratch it, the more it itches, the more it wants. It’s never satisfied until you bleed to death. And that’s why the Bible says, ‘Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh,'” Savchuk said.
“The Bible doesn’t say, ‘If you walk in the Spirit, you won’t itch.’ It just says that you will have the power not to scratch the itch and it will go away. Because when you crucified him, you ignore him, you walk away from him. He dies until the next day, then he rises again at again. And then the process begins again. But the more you do it, it becomes a habit, and walking in purity becomes a way of life.
Savchuk noted that young Christians struggling with lust should first recognize that they are not alone in their fight. He added that everyone has “private battles” and “everyone can be equipped to win them”.
“There’s this misconception that ‘once I get married, all my private battles will go away just because now I’ll be having nearly unlimited sex and everything will be legal, moral and just. “But really, lust isn’t conquered by having access to more sex. Lust is that thing where if it’s not crucified, it escalates,” Savchuk said.
“And so we have to overcome [lust] in private. It’s like the lion and the bear that David faced in private before he fought Goliath. Marriage will have its own Goliath problems. Marriage will have many challenges. And so, if you don’t go into marriage already having the victory over lust, it will make marriage, which is already difficult, it will make it even more difficult.”
Savchuk encouraged young adults not to waste their single years trying to date as many people as possible. Instead, they should spend time developing their faith, he said.
“One of the best areas you can prepare for is definitely your relationship with God and figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life,” Savchuk said.
The pastor considered “establishing purity in your thoughts” to be most important, especially “in your mind, in your eyes and as well as in your life”.
“Whatever we feed grows. Whatever we starve, it dies,” Savchuk noted referring to Galatians 6:8. “He who sows to please his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh; pleasing the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.”
Savchuk thinks some people have “deeper issues that discipline and pleasure in God will not solve and they will need deliverance” because they have “allowed the enemy to gain a foothold in their lives” during too long.
Savchuk says it often plays out in the person’s life through a demon or demons, which takes on a spiritual hold that goes beyond just lust.
“Often these demons, they take over an area of our lives, and now it’s under [Satan’s] control. … People sometimes ask me, ‘Well, how do I know if it’s lust or if it’s a devil?’ It is very simple. When the demon takes control of your life, you have no control in that area,” Savtchouk said.
“And when the person comes and says things like ‘I can’t control myself,’ they 100% have a problem that’s more spiritual than physical. And that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t practice self-control. , but now they need prayer against spiritual forces.”
Savchuk recounted how he was exposed to pornography as a child and became addicted to pornography as a teenager after emigrating from Ukraine to the United States.
“Porn would find me and I would start to struggle with lust,” he said. “It was around this time that I started going into youth ministry as a youth minister. So publicly, I am supposed to grow with God. [But], in private. I’m beaten by this thing.”
Lust creates deception, Savchuk continued, which makes many people think they can face the battle in private, and they never do.
“You have to bring it to light,” he stressed, noting that he had turned to his uncle, who was also his pastor, for help in his struggle. “I dragged this thing into the light, and that’s when it started losing its power. But I was still hooked.”
Savchuk remembers “desperate for freedom”, which led him to fast and pray for seven consecutive days. He said his fast allowed God to free him from his porn addiction.
“I felt the Holy Spirit reveal to me that I had opened the door to the influence of the enemy. And I [knew I had] to repent and give up on this and really order this thing to go,” Savchuk said.
“No one prayed for me for freedom. I kind of went through that by deeply repenting, taking authority and ordering the enemy out. I belong to Jesus. My spirit belongs to Jesus. I don’t want to have that in my life. It’s stopped.”
Savchuk said he felt a “holy rage” during the fast, along with a “sense of relief”.
“The temptations were still there. The only difference now was that I was in control because the Spirit gives us self-control,” Savchuk said. “If someone fights and [they’re] remarking: ‘I went to the accountability group. I have already admitted it. I memorized the verse[s]. I disconnected social media apps. I installed all kinds of apps. I did all of this. You know, maybe you have a spiritual problem and you need someone to pray with you.”
“Just lead yourself through the prayer of renunciation. And it’s very simple. Identify the first time you were exposed. Ask God to repent of that, close that door, and just command that enemy to leave. … And you will start entering the victory.”