Lusting after another woman is a sin that many Christian men struggle with. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “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 verse makes it clear that lusting after another woman is equivalent to committing adultery in God’s eyes.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will dive deep into what the Bible says about lust, adultery, and overcoming sexual temptation. Whether you struggle personally with lust or want to better understand how to counsel fellow Christians dealing with this issue, our goal is to provide scriptural wisdom and practical advice.
- Lusting after another woman is a form of adultery and sexual immorality according to Jesus.
- God created sex and sexual desire for marriage only. Lust distorts God’s good gift.
- We must take radical action against temptations to lust.
- Choosing to think righteous thoughts is key to overcoming lust.
- Husbands must love their wives sacrificially as Christ loved the church.
- Wives should respect their husbands and save sexual intimacy for them alone.
- Supporting accountability partners are essential for combating lust.
- With God’s help and grace, we can walk in sexual purity.
Defining Lust Biblically
Let’s start by looking at what the Bible actually says about lust. According to the NKJV dictionary, the word “lust” means:
“To have an intense desire, usually in a physical or sexual sense.”
We see this meaning clearly in passages like:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Deuteronomy 5:21).
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1).
“Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids” (Proverbs 6:25).
Lust is an intense desire that often stems from looking and dwelling on something or someone. It usually has a sexual component, such as desiring intimate relations with someone who is not your spouse.
Lust as Adultery of the Heart
One of the clearest teachings on lust comes from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:
“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” (Matthew 5:27-28).
Jesus equates lusting after a woman with actually committing adultery with her. The physical act does not have to happen for it to be sin. The adultery has already occurred in the lustful person’s heart and mind.
Some key points we can take away:
- Adultery does not require physical action – it happens internally first.
- God sees our thought life as equally important as our actions.
- We cannot justify impure thoughts just because we didn’t act on them.
Later in Matthew 15:19, Jesus says:
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
The root source of adultery and sexual immorality is the evil desires of our hearts. That’s why controlling our thought life is so critical.
Old Testament Warnings Against Adultery
The Old Testament spoke out frequently against adultery and its devastating costs:
“But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).
Adultery destroys marriages, families, and lives. It incites jealous rage in husbands that often ended violently in Biblical times. Even kings and heroes of the faith like David fell prey to sexual temptation.
God also equated Israel’s idolatry to spiritual adultery. When Israel turned to idols, they betrayed their “marriage” covenant with God:
“Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:20).
Sex Outside of Marriage is Unacceptable
Scripture consistently condemns all sexual activity outside of marriage. Sex is a gift meant only for husband and wife within marriage:
“Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).
“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” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
Within this lawful marriage bond, husbands and wives can enjoy God’s gift of sex without shame:
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
But sexual relations must remain exclusive to the marriage. Adultery, fornication, lust, pornography and other sexual sins all warp God’s perfect design for sex.
Lust and Sexual Immorality Are Condemned
From the 7th commandment against adultery to Jesus’ warnings about lust, Scripture consistently warns against all sexual immorality:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness…” (Galatians 5:19).
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
Why does the Bible take sexual sin so seriously? Because it violates God’s sacred purpose for sex – becoming “one flesh” in marriage (Genesis 2:24). Illicit sexual desire also reveals a heart that neither loves God nor others rightly (Matthew 22:36-40).
Overcoming Lust and Sexual Temptation
Now that we’ve seen God’s extreme displeasure over adultery and lust, let’s talk practical solutions. How can Christians defeat lust and walk in sexual purity?
Recognize that Lust is Sin
First, we must recognize lust for what it is – adultery and sexual immorality in God’s eyes. Making excuses will hinder our progress. Don’t buy into lies like:
- “It’s just looking, not doing.”
- “I can’t help having these desires.”
- “A little fantasy won’t hurt.”
Temptation is inevitable, but acting on it by indulging in impurity is sin. We need to get serious about lust and face it head-on.
Cut Off Stumbling Blocks
Jesus said if our hand or eye causes us to stumble into sin, we should remove them (Matthew 5:29-30). Of course, He was speaking in hyperbole, but His point still stands: take radical action to stop sin at its source.
For lust, that means eliminating things that incite impure thoughts like pornography, movies/shows, music, books, websites, people, and situations. Jesus calls us to separate decisively from influences that lead us into sexual temptation:
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it 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 hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and cast it from you…” (Matthew 5:29-30).
Removing stumbling blocks is difficult but essential. Seeking accountability from other believers can help during this process.
Renew Your Mind with Scripture
In contrast to conforming to the world’s warped thinking, Romans 12:2 tells 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.”
We counteract lustful thoughts by filling our mind with God’s truth and “[bringing] every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Memorizing verses about sexual purity helps us recall God’s standards when temptation strikes.
Here are some powerful passages to meditate on:
- Job 31:1
- Matthew 5:28
- Galatians 5:19-21
- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
- Colossians 3:5-6
As we renew our minds with Scripture, we will find lust and impurity losing their grip. But this takes discipline, vigilance, and time.
Avoid Triggers and Seek Accountability
It’s essential to avoid situations where we know temptation will be strong:
- Certain movies, shows, music, books, websites
- Isolating ourselves for long periods
- Letting our imagination wander into sexual fantasy
- Going places we recurrently fail, like certain bars or parties
Proverbs 7:6-27 depicts how a young man lacking vigilance gets pulled into adultery by a seducing woman. We need accountability partners and safeguards to protect us from circumstances primed to awaken lust.
Confessing struggles with lust to a spiritually mature believer helps release the burden of shame and isolation. James 5:16 assures us:
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Bounce Your Eyes
The initial sight of something provocative often triggers sexual thoughts. One technique to stop lust at its entry point is simply looking away – “bouncing your eyes.” You cannot control seeing something unintentionally, but you can control how long your eyes linger.
Jesus said the “lamp of the body” is the eye and we must keep our eye “single” and pure (Matthew 6:22-23). Guard what catches your gaze when out in public, on your phone/computer, watching shows, looking at ads and magazines, etc. Refuse to dwell on enticing images. Disciplining our eyes is essential for purity.
Pray and Fast
Jesus addressed certain evil spirits that only come out through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). Fasting helps subdue the flesh and intensifies our prayers. When struggling with persistent sexual temptation:
- Commit to regular times of prayer and fasting.
- Daily ask God for the grace and power to resist lust.
- Fast from things that inflame your lust: media, food, alcohol, etc.
Bring your vulnerable areas before God. Allow fasting to heighten your spiritual senses against the enemy’s attacks. Through prayer and fasting, you can walk free from sexual temptation by God’s power.
Love and Serve Your Wife
Married men should prioritize loving their wife to help guard against adulterous thoughts. Peter wrote:
“Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
How can husbands honor and understand their wives better? Time spent listening, conversing, appreciating her strengths, and praying together all help cultivate intimacy and love. Refuse to let sourness infect your marriage that could push you toward lust.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:25-28).
Model Christ by loving your wife sacrificially, meeting her needs, and cherishing her exclusively. Purpose to delight in her alone. Your marriage bed will remain undefiled as you focus on your covenant commitment to your wife.
Wives Respect Your Husband
Wives also play a crucial role in their husband’s battle for purity. A disrespectful, unsupportive wife can provoke her husband to look for affirmation elsewhere. But a wife who honors her husband makes it easier for him to steer clear of adulterous traps.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord…as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:22, 24, 25).
“Submitting” means voluntarily yielding to and respecting your husband’s leadership in the home. It does not imply inferiority or losing your identity. A wife affirming her husband’s manhood and leadership makes it easier for him to lead the family into righteousness.
So wives, look for ways to encourage your husband’s leadership and affirm his good qualities. Respect and submit to him even when you disagree. Saving sexual intimacy for him alone helps cement the marital bond. Uplift him for the husband and father he is, in spite of imperfections. Support him in overcoming sinful habits like lust.
Cultivate Godly Friendships
Surrounding ourselves with strong believers provides protection against sexual temptation. Their godly counsel keeps us accountable while their fellowship decreases loneliness that often feeds lust. Paul instructed:
“Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).
Seek out friendships with those zealous for God, spiritual growth, sexual purity, and upright living. Avoid peers who are sexually immoral, crude, or preoccupied with lustful things. Their influence will drag you down. It may mean finding new friends.
Proverbs 27:17 says:
“Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Let righteous friends challenge, sharpen, and encourage you in living an upright life. Their support will fortify you to resist temptation.
Walking in Sexual Purity by God’s Grace
Through Christ, we have power to overcome sexual temptation. But we must exercise self-discipline, gouge out stumbling blocks, fill our minds with holy thoughts, and seek strong accountability.
Recognize lust for the sin it is. Refuse to entertain it. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that you can’t help lusting or that it won’t hurt anyone. Cling to God’s promises of escape and endurance:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
Keep your eyes on Christ through continual prayer, study, and fellowship with believers. He will lead you to victory over lust’s enticements as you yield to the Spirit:
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:16-17).
May we as the church unite in seeking holiness and purity by God’s grace. Through vigilance and Spirit-empowered obedience, we can walk uprightly and train our hearts to desire only what glorifies our King.