Lust is a problem that affects both men and women, and it can manifest in different forms. Lust can lead to addictive behavior, inappropriate relationships, and distance from God. It can also cause emotional and physical consequences, such as guilt, shame, and regret, as well as unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and other health issues.
The Bible provides clear teachings on the dangers of lust and the importance of living a life of purity and obedience to God. The seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery,” warns us against the act of adultery, which is the result of giving in to lustful desires. Jesus also taught about the importance of self-control and purity, emphasizing that the pure in heart will see God.
Overcoming lust is a process that requires discipline, self-control, and a reliance on God’s grace and guidance. By acknowledging the problem, seeking help, focusing on God, practicing self-control, and renewing the mind, we can overcome lust and live a life that is pleasing to God. In the following sections, we will explore in more detail what the Bible says about lust and how to overcome it.
Definition of Lust
The Bible describes lust as a craving or desire, often for something that is not ours to have. The desire can be for physical pleasure, material possessions, or power over others. Lust is often associated with sexual desires, but it can manifest in other ways as well.
Jesus warns us in Luke 12:15, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” In other words, we should be careful not to desire things that we do not need or that are not meant for us.
Differences between Lust and Love
Love and lust are often confused, but they are not the same thing. Love is a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional commitment to another person, while lust is a self-seeking, temporary, and physical desire for pleasure.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Why Lust Can Be Harmful
Lust can be harmful because it can lead to addictive behavior, inappropriate relationships, and distance from God. When we allow ourselves to be ruled by our fleshly desires, we may miss out on God’s plan for our lives.
James 1:14-15 warns, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Biblical Perspective on Lust
The Ten Commandments and Lust
The seventh commandment, found in Exodus 20:14, states, “You shall not commit adultery.” This commandment is a warning against the act of adultery, which is the result of giving in to lustful desires.
Jesus explains in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard 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 with her in his heart.”
This statement by Jesus is an important reminder that lust is not just about physical actions but also involves the thoughts and desires of the heart.
Proverbs and Lust
The book of Proverbs warns us against the dangers of lustful behavior. Proverbs 6:25-26 states, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.”
The book of Proverbs contains many warnings about the consequences of lustful behavior, and it encourages us to seek wisdom and guidance from God in all our relationships.
The New Testament and Lust
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul warns against sexual immorality and impurity in numerous passages. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
In addition to sexual immorality, the New Testament warns against other forms of lustful behavior, such as greed and materialism. Colossians 3:5 says, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Jesus’ Teachings on Lust
Jesus warned his followers against giving in to lustful desires. In Mark 7:21-23, he states, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Jesus also taught the importance of self-control and purity in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This verse is a reminder that purity of heart is a necessary condition for having a close relationship with God.
Consequences of Lust
Lust can have serious consequences in our lives, including spiritual, emotional, physical, and societal consequences.
Lust can have serious spiritual consequences. Giving in to lustful desires can cause us to distance ourselves from God and His plan for our lives. Galatians 5:16 warns us to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” When we allow ourselves to be ruled by our fleshly desires, we are not walking in the Spirit, and we may miss out on God’s blessings for our lives.
Lust can also have emotional consequences, such as guilt, shame, and regret. When we give in to our lustful desires, we may hurt ourselves and others, causing damage to our relationships and our own sense of self-worth.
Lust can have physical consequences as well. Sexual activity outside of God’s plan can lead to unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and other health issues.
Lust can have societal consequences as well. It can contribute to the breakdown of families, lead to the objectification of others, and contribute to the culture of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Overcoming lust is a process that requires discipline, self-control, and a reliance on God’s grace and guidance. Here are some steps that can be taken to overcome lust:
Acknowledging the Problem
The first step in overcoming lust is acknowledging that it is a problem. We must be willing to recognize when we are struggling with lustful desires and seek help when necessary.
Accountability and Seeking Help
Having an accountability partner and seeking help from trusted mentors or professionals can be helpful in overcoming lust. Confiding in others and seeking guidance and support can provide a sense of accountability and encouragement on the journey toward purity.
Focusing on God
Focusing on God and His plan for our lives can help us to overcome lust. Colossians 3:2 encourages us to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” When we focus on God and His plan for our lives, we are less likely to be tempted by worldly desires.
Practicing self-control is another key to overcoming lust. 1 Corinthians 9:27 states, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” When we exercise self-control over our thoughts and actions, we are better able to resist temptation and honor God with our lives.
Renewing the Mind
Finally, renewing our minds with God’s Word is essential in overcoming lust. Romans 12:2 instructs us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” When we fill our minds with God’s truth, we are better equipped to resist temptation and live in accordance with His plan for our lives.
Overcoming lust is not an easy task, but it is possible with God’s help. It requires a willingness to change, a reliance on His grace and guidance, and a commitment to live a life of purity and obedience. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, we can overcome lust and experience the blessings of a life lived in accordance with God’s plan.
In the end, the choice is ours whether to give in to lustful desires or to honor God with our bodies and our lives. Let us choose to follow His plan for purity and relationships, and experience the blessings that come from living a life that is pleasing to Him.
In conclusion, it is important for Christians to understand what the Bible says about lust and its consequences. Lust is a powerful desire that can lead us away from God and His plan for our lives. However, with discipline, self-control, and reliance on God’s grace, we can overcome lust and experience the blessings of a life lived in purity and obedience to Him.