Matthew 5:27-30 Jesus Addresses Lust

Lust defense

Lust Defense Mechanism

Have you ever been walking with a man when a very pretty woman comes by? Or even with a woman when a very good looking man walks by? I can almost guarantee that heads turned. Let’s take it up a notch and say the head that turned was attached to your spouse’s body. In today’s culture, I’ll bet the conversation afterwards went something like this:

“What are you doing?!? Why were you looking at him/her?”

“What? I may be married but I’m not dead. I’m allowed to notice a pretty girl/hot guy. I can look, I just can’t touch.”

Noticing and following with your head sounds a lot like what Jesus was talking about when He said not to lust in your heart. Then again, only God knows what’s truly in the heart when the head spins. But Jesus didn’t say you couldn’t “notice” or see the beautiful people around you did He? What turns looking into lusting? Is “lust” only a sexual issue?

First off, I believe God intended us to appreciate the beauty He created. Otherwise why would He have made so many different flowers? He created beauty in everything He made, even when it is not visible to the eye.  Then, Satin came along and corrupted that beauty. Now we don’t even know what beauty is. It is so mixed up in our culture we don’t even see true beauty when it’s right in front of us. The beauty of a stranger reaching out to help someone who is hurting. Or the smile someone gives you simply for making eye contact. Those are the things that should be turning heads.

I looked up the meaning of “lust” on Dictionary.com and found the currently accepted meanings to all be sexual in nature, but the “obsolete” definition wasn’t. Was this obsolete definition: “desire; inclination; wish”, what Jesus was talking about? Most would think the sexual component/definition: “intense sexual desire or appetite”, would be what He was referring to. The fact that He had started this discussion topic by talking about adultery would tend to make one think the latter was His intended meaning. However, yesterday’s topic on anger shows us how even little seeds of “irritation” can, when watered, turn into the anger Jesus warned us about. I believe “desire” and “inclination” can have this same morphing capacity when fed and watered. Just ask any dieter how easily a simple wish for something sweet can balloon into an all-consuming craving for chocolate!

Another interesting, and concerning, fact is the synonyms of lust. On our dictionary page they list: “crave; hunger; covet; yearn.” None of these are sexually explicit, but can easily replace the term lust in a sentence. This hits me where I live. With my issues surrounding weight and body size, I have often looked at someone and “yearned” to have a legs or hips like them. This is what led me to my life and death crisis with weight. I was LUSTING after something. I fed that quick wish, which turned to coveting, which grew into a deep yearning, which resulted in lust, which nearly killed me.

THAT is why Jesus warns so strongly against lust. It is deadly! It does not always lead to physical death but it results in death none the less. Death of a relationship. Death of trust. Death of dignity. Spiritual death. No wonder He said it is SO destructive that, whatever part of you is having this longing, it would be better for you to cut it off than to let it continue to lead you to the grave.

So what do we do? We are going to have times our heads turn, or are at least tempted to turn. I don’t want to actually blind myself to keep it from happening, so what do I do? GRAB THAT SEED as soon as it hits the dirt. Don’t give it any time to grow. Throw it right back into the trash where it came from. My favorite phrase in these situations is: “NOT going there!” And then I ask for God’s help in looking for any roots that got left the last time we dealt with this issue.

So the new conversation, if/when the head turns, should look like this:

“What are you doing?!? Why were you looking at him/her?”

“What? Oh. I’m sorry. That was inappropriate. Please forgive me. I forgot to appreciate what I have right in front of me.” Lord, please help me to value the gifts in my spouse that You gave me and not even entertain the thoughts of wanting something or someone different.

Father God, thank You for showing me clearly what little seeds, when left to grow, can do in my life. Help me recognize the harmful seeds as soon as they fall and help me root them out immediately. I know I have asked for forgiveness for my “lust” areas and You have graciously given it to me; again and Again and AGAIN. I am deeply ashamed of how many “agains” there have been. I know You promise to never remember my sins, but I sure do. Satan does too. He is SO good at identifying the weak spots in my defenses, especially the ones that have several “agains” attached to them. Please, shore up my defenses. Help me STOP falling for the same old tricks. Help me see the beauty You placed right in front of me. Help me become fully satisfied with what I have already been given, so that I don’t even turn my head anymore. Thank You for ALL You have given me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

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