Understanding Lust

 

For further than sixteen hundred years, lust continues to be identified as one of the seven classical lethal sins. This list also consists of greed, gluttony, pride, sloth, anger and envy. Like these other habits, it does not command much of our attention. In fact , lust is generally misunderstood and ignored even though its affects ruin the lives of many around all of us.

What is lust? Most would merely describe lust as an overwhelming sexual interest. However , this is not the meaning it has for Christians. For us, intensity is less of a concern than the direction in which our desire is pointed. Whenever our focus is directed in the direction of that which is forbidden, then it will be lust. Engaging in lust must be recognized as more than mere desire, since it provides an illicit form of gratification by itself. Because of it, our thirst is temporarily quenched.

Granted, every day, common lust is frequently looked at as nothing more than a natural human urge for food and a harmless, passive source of satisfaction. This is not the Biblical view, where lust is strictly condemned. Whenever we were hardwired to lust, as being a believe, we would be powerless to get rid of it. We would also not know what to do with the teachings of Jesus. Consider His words:

You have noticed that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery. ‘ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery along with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck this out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into terrible. And if your right hand makes you sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your users perish, than for your whole body to become cast into hell. (Matthew 5: 27-30)

Although this passage established fact, it is generally misunderstood in one method or another. In fact , many consider it to be so harsh and unreasonable they simply set it aside. Hence they ignore, to their peril, particular teaching about a problem that is plaguing our society and the Church. Voyeurism is epidemic. With the rise associated with Internet usage and the privacy it affords, the practices of observing pornography and masturbation are more and more prevalent. Jesus is unmistakably handling these practices directly when He or she suggests amputating our right eyesight or our right hand when they cause us to sin.

Unfortunately, without correctly understanding this passage, we might come to one of two wrong a conclusion. First, we could assume that Jesus considers self-mutilation to be a viable solution to lust. Being blind and without hands would definitely interfere with our ability to sin in this way. Yet, instinctively, we know that this is not His intention. It is impractical and unreasonable on the face. Besides, blind, handless men still lust.

On the other hand, it really is as wrong to conclude that He is exaggerating or speaking allegorically. It may look odd being told to maintain complete disuse from lustful thoughts, especially in such graphic, shocking language. However , rather than smoothing over what Jesus says, we had better think hard about how to obey. Clearly, He leaves no wiggle room. Lust must be eliminated from our lives or the outcomes of continuing in it are too dreadful to bear.

The Greek words to get lust are epithumeo and epithumia (as a noun), which come from root words meaning, “to feel upon. ” It is also frequently converted “to covet. ” Jesus in Matthew deliberately utilizes language in the Greek Old Testament translation of the tenth commandment. There, we are forbidden to “feel upon our the next door neighbor’s woman” as one of the ways we should not really covet. Any woman who has already been “felt upon” in an unwelcome manner would appreciate the root meaning. Jesus elevated this particular kind of coveting to a level unlike any other. He plainly taught that feeling upon a female who is not your wife is an intimate sin equivalent to physically committing adultery.

Perhaps this is what rubs us wrong.
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Lust consists of a form of sexual pleasure which is readily available, intensely private and usually not resisted. It is that inner buzz that draws one to a good advertisement or to a particular television show. Such casual objects of lust, or even “eye candy, ” are of a type that we simply do not want to consider as improper.

Of course , offering in too much is a recognized issue. Many make lust their main thought meditation. Using modern technology, objects of desire can be thrust ahead of the eyes with a variety and intensity that has never been imagined prior to. Sexual sin has led to unsatisfied marriages, broken families and emaciated lives. As they become consumed with what they consume, some want to get the genie back in the bottle but can’t say for sure how. Internet filters, accountability, twelve step programs, intense prayer plus Bible study are recommended typically fail.

Many counselors, including some who come from a Christian viewpoint, see their job as helping others to achieve “sexual sobriety. inch This secular term, which is used simply by Sexaholics Anonymous, describes the state exactly where one does not masturbate, view porn material or engage in illicit sex. Unfortunately, the root problem of lust gets no mention. Sexual sobriety might be readily described as cleansing the outside from the cup while on the inside remaining filled with self-indulgence.

Before we can overcome lust we need a clear definition. Consider this: Lust is gaining sexual gratification or perhaps a buzz from anyone or anything other than your spouse. This may appear filter and confining, but seems closest to what the Bible is talking about.

Key to a proper understanding of the particular teaching in Matthew is to identify it as a challenge. If our eye or our hand is causing us to lust, by all means, get rid of it. With this challenge, Christ forces us to admit that it can be not an eye or hand issue. Rather, it is a heart and mind issue.

Jesus calls the hand and eye “members. ” John, in Romans 6-8, uses the same expression. Not coincidentally, he furthermore writes quite a bit about “lust” generally there as well. Likely, the underlying sin that Paul is referencing in this passing where he anguishes over doing that which he does not want to do is the common, tenacious sin of lust. Exactly how would I know not to lust when the law did not say “do not lust? ” (Rom 7: 7)

Paul’s straightforward, practical solution to the dilemma is to declare unequivocally that will Christ has made us alive and free. Within that position, we are to live in freedom by carrying out our members to righteousness. Do not allow sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members since instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to The almighty as being alive from the dead, as well as your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6: 13)

All who are in Christ are capable of doing this. Apart from Him, even a successful elimination of lust would merely make room in our hearts with regard to other vices. For from within, from the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride plus foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man. (Mark 7: 23) Once we had small choice, since our members had been slaves to uncleanness. But now, previously being made free in Christ you can easliy present our members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. (Romans 6: 19)

Paul also appreciates that some choose not to do this and transparently confides his own aching struggle with sin in Romans seven. Willingly using our members for lust enslaves us again. It is a dangerous, fatal course. Do you not know that to whom you existing yourselves slaves to obey, you might be that one’s slaves whom a person obey? (v. 16) For in case you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put in order to death the deeds of the entire body, you will live. (Romans 8: 3) The inevitable tragic consequences associated with willful sinning are identified by Paul as another law in my users. In fact , it is the law of sin. (Chapter 7: 23)

No longer using our members, eyes and fingers, to enable sin is a deceptively basic, yet effective solution to overcoming the debilitating sin of lust. This is the way it is done. When we are confronted by something that could create a buzz, we forcefully stop this from happening. We deny sin any foothold, whether by turning our heads, redirecting our thoughts or other deliberate action. By this, all of us discover that lust is not spontaneous or automatic. Instead, it is a choice, just like the choice we make when we recoil from lust in regards to a family member.

Altering our reasons for looking will necessarily change our viewing habits plus make us more sensitive towards the wiles of the evil one. This really is all to the good as we make ourselves to righteousness and utilize our members to this end. I admit that acting in this way can be awkward initially. However , it becomes automated with practice. As we root out there lust, other sexual sins fade away as well, allowing us to normally act and increase in righteousness. Best of all, the Spirit of Christ is usually working in us to accomplish this precise objective.    

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