Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on May 19th, 2009
I am really not going to give anything new here as James 1:13-15 kind of says it plain:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
No Brainer. Lust Lives in the person. In particular it lives in the heart of you and me. Taking Jesus word on defilement in Matthew 15:17-20 –
“Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
And we begin to understand that it is the heart of man where lust dwells and defiles a person.
Lust knows no discrimination — male, female, old, young, red, yellow, black and white. It exists in the hearts of all. Men and women differ in how lust manifests but the result is the same — as desire to own or possess another persons sexuality for the purpose of control or gratification of self. The lust of men starts as visual attraction and then a desire to control or own the woman desired for ones self. Women lust too. I think in their case it is about comfort and vanity. A woman wants to be desired thinking that will lead to a man loving her. Men deal with ‘love’ to get sex, sex being a goal worthy in and of itself to most men. Women deal with sex to get ‘love’; they hope sex will lead them to love. It rarely happens. In both cases, people are not people to the person with lust. They are objects to gain something for ones self. Lust is the poorest way to start a relationship, but in our sin sick world it is, more often than not, where it starts.
Lust differs from admiration in that admiration respects the person hood of the person being admired. A man can admire the beauty of a woman without lusting after her. Lust is a decision of the heart and will. A switch is flipped where the man stops thinking about the woman as a person who is beautiful and makes her into an object to be used.
That established, I want to make this series of posts to be about application. I live in the real world and a lot of this discussion has been me coming to terms with my own lust and how to deal with it. At an early age, I got involved with porn and all that goes with it. As a Christian I struggled with it unsuccessfully by the use of willpower. Doesn’t work — “taste not, touch not, handle not” is religious nonsense, as Paul rightly calls ‘will worship’, that does not deal with the real issue — retraining or disciplining the heart to walk in righteousness and not in lust. (See Colossians 2:20-23)
In this culture of ours, USA, Men and women are bombarded with images all day long about men and women involving sex and romance that are unrealistic and plastic. But the problem is not this — the world is going to do what it does and, baring a real revival, it is going to get worse. I can see the nude beaches and public nudity of Europe coming here in a very short time. The issues of porn vs. art; public nudity and skin, sensuality, etc. will become more pronounced in the coming years. How is the church and the individual going to handle it? Changing culture is long time consuming process and in the meantime, what is a Christian man or woman to do to fight the temptations? There are some things that you cannot avoid because we are in the world. Jesus wants us to be in the world — but not of it. How do we do this in regard to nudity, modesty an culture as men and women. That is the subject of the next two posts.
Next: Practical Advice to Men.