You may have a lot of questions when it comes to this topic. Or maybe things are clearly black and white when dealing with lust? Either way, I think there’s a lot more to this than we might initially think. So I’d like to dive into this a little bit today to discover possibly some new treasures.
First, we must be able to define it. We can’t talk about something or consider something if we don’t have an understanding about it.
According to Webster’s Dictionary:
Lust – a strong feeling of sexual desire; a strong desire for something. An intense longing.
According to the Greek word, ἐπιθυμέω epithyméō:
Lust – to covet, desire earnestly, set the heart upon.
Lust – THE GOOD
- Jesus lusted: In Luke 22:15, we see Jesus “earnestly desiring” to eat the Passover with His disciples.
- Paul encouraged it: In 1 Timothy 3:1, Paul deems lusting for position and leadership in the church as noble.
- Good lusting for another: In Hebrews 6:11, the writer lusts greatly for others to endure to the end.
Lust – THE BAD
- Married Lust: The key passage that we all know is found in Matthew 5:28 when Jesus states that adultery is more than just the act, but the intent of the heart. In context, Jesus here “distinguishes the woman in this passage as a married woman, using the Greek word gyne, which often means ‘wife.’ He is also speaking directly to married men. His choice of the word ‘adultery’ indicates that this desire to acquire, among or directed toward married people, is equal to adultery.” (Steve Gerali)
- The Command: God tells Moses in Exodus 20:17 that the Law forbids lusting after anything, including another man’s wife, that belongs to another.
- Lustful Israelites: We should learn from others and realize that we all are susceptible to lusting after evil. 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 shows that lust can manifest as sexual immoral acts, idolatry, and grumbling.
Lust – THE UGLY
Lust just might be more neutral than we’ve made it out to be. All lust isn’t sinful! We tend to think certain strong desires are inherently evil, while others are morally right. But I propose that it just might be more “ugly” than these extreme opposite stances. Many times with ugly issues like this, we tend to swing one way. For example, we choose the religious side and make blanket statements to say that all lust is bad, stay away and flee! Yet I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 that exposes the heart.
Jesus wants relationship and our hearts. In Galatians 5:17-25, we see that both the Spirit lusts and our flesh lusts; the Spirit and flesh are in direct opposition to one another. So we can’t get away from it. But with maturity and wisdom, hopefully we can grow in discernment to know when a strong desire is pure or not, from our flesh or Spirit. Here are three things I’d like to leave you with to consider about lust:
- Lust is unique to each person. God is so creative in the way He made each of us! We don’t have the same desires. I desire to travel to Israel one day, some would never want to do this.
- Intensity and strength of a desire matters. I have never desired alcohol, so there’s never been any slight bent to this becoming sinful to me. To another person, this might be greatly desired and sought after, posing a huge temptation and snare.
- Be flexible. Lust and desires are complex. Desires can be sinful, but each person must be sensitive to the Spirit to lead to truth and where lines need to be drawn. It also takes growing in understanding of ourselves and how we are wired in order to pinpoint how we are triggered in certain ways that potentially can lead to sin.
Next week, I’ll be writing about lust and how it specifically deals with sexuality. Don’t miss it!
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What is your personal definition of lust? Has this post influenced it at all? Do you think that all sexual thoughts are always lustful?
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