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Lust = Adultery?



(Matthew 5:27-28 NIV)  You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


(Proverbs 23:26-27 NIV)  My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways, for a prostitute is a deep pit and a wayward wife is a narrow well.


(Luke 11:34-35 NIV)  Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.


(1 John 2:16 NIV)  For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.


(Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV)  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.  Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.



The path to holiness is one that teaches us to be masters of relationships (Hebrews 12:14-17).  Depending on who your master is, you will be rewarded with rich, deep, intimacy with those around you—or be consumed by greed, lust and selfishness. Jesus began His Sermon by teaching us what Kingdom citizens are (The Beatitudes).  He then gave us insight as to how He is the fulfillment of all that God had promised before His first coming.  Now He is teaching us about the basic reprogramming that needs to occur in us, so that our fulfillment is found bearing His name—Christians (Matthew 5:21-48; Romans 12:1-2). 


For centuries, men and women have been robbing themselves of rich intimacy because they have indulged in lusting after each other.  They have even have married one another, thinking marriage would provide them with “instant intimacy”.  They have forgotten about the deception of the flesh and the heart (Jeremiah 17:9, 10).  They have allowed the flesh to guide them into making relationships—the very thing Jesus says cannot happen (Romans 8:6-9). 


Like I have said before, I believe our feelings and emotions should be used to confirm the goodness of a relationship.  Good feelings follow good, confident decisions and convictions.  Bad feelings usually follow selfish thoughts and acts, greedy motivations and ungodly desires.  If we learn to properly manage our emotions, we can learn to capitalize on good feelings and bad alike, being that bad feelings can also cause us to examine others and ourselves in the context of what each party contributes/expects of the relationship. 


In this next encouragement (Matthew 5:27, 28), Jesus teaches us about another fleshly instinct that destroys (particularly, but not necessarily confined to) relationships between men and women.  I think we can also learn a lot from Job’s conviction on the matter:


(Job 31:1-11 NIV)  I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.  For what is man's lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high?  Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong?  Does he not see my ways and count my every step?  If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit--let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless--if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.  If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, then may my wife grind another man's grain, and may other men sleep with her. For that would have been shameful, a sin to be judged.



In His Footsteps © 1998


Lust = Adultery?





It is no mystery how lusting is a barrier to relationships between the sexes.  Lust makes us look at each other as objects to possess, devaluing the worth of the person as a child of God.  Perhaps you have looked at the opposite sex (or if you were a homosexual, at the same sex) in a way the world taught you how to look—as something you need to have, rather than someone you could get to know.  Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.  Is it proper for us to hold onto old ways of thinking about people or relationships?  What happens when we are in Christ?  Are you really new in Christ even though you may feel like you’re not?  Let’s focus on the renewal of our mind with things that will bring refreshing joy and growth in the Spirit.  Let’s develop patterns that will put us in step with the Spirit of God so that we can become catalysts for godly attitudes and relationships as ambassadors of Christ (Romans 12:1ff).  Haven’t you started over in Christ?  Is your past gone?  Are you still trying to identify with your emotional connections of the past or are you learning about your new life in Christ (Colossians 3:1-7)?  Don't let old attitudes cripple your desire to be filled with the Spirit.  How many people desire the possibility of starting over?  With the Spirit Jesus gave you it is possible and necessary.  Sin in our life has to be dealt with radically (Mark 9:42-48), as we shall study next week.



Self-control ensures that our relationships follow the appropriate parameters to encourage growth and intimacy.  Without these parameters, the writer of Proverbs suggested, we are like a violated city (Proverbs 25:28).  When we turn to the Lord and abide in His ways, we know the truth and that truth frees us (John 8:31, 32).  The freedom in Christ comes by an awareness of our former slavery to sin (John 8:34) and a commitment to abide (obey) Jesus’ teachings. This theme of freedom and self-control was beautifully related to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 3:16-4:12.  What do you think the “veil” refers to in this passage?  How is it that we can reflect God’s glory?  Paul’s awareness of God's grace in giving him a ministry of restoring relationships causes him to reflect on his new life and new ways beginning in chapter 4.  What has to be at work in you so that Jesus’ life can be at work in those whom you seek to relate with (see verses 10-12 of chapter 4)?  Developing pure relationships requires self-control and a renunciation of secret and shameful ways.  Is lusting after someone secret?  Is it shameful?  You bet it is!



Marriage is a cornerstone for God-fearing families.  The society that perseveres to keep its marriage bed pure is one that ensures the livelihood of a thriving, God-glorifying community (Hebrews 13:4).   Pure relationships between husband and wife, forged out of chaste courtship and Christian friendship, give rise to children that bring honor to their parents and families that are salt and light to their neighbors.  Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.  Describe, from this passage, how your relationships with brethren of the opposite sex should be.   Verse 4 suggests that there are parameters (guidelines) for proper behavior in our relationships.  Are there any guidelines among those who do not know God?   Do people wrong each other, or take advantage of each other in the world when it comes to relating between the sexes?  How do you know when you are lusting after someone?  Verse 7 says we were called to live holy.   If you are thinking about what you need as opposed to serving, you can be sure you are not being holy—you are lusting.



Sexual immorality not only taints relationships but it also indicates low self-esteem, lack of self-control and a preoccupation with worldly desires.  It is interesting how in Romans 13:12-14, indulgence in the flesh is (lusting) something people do in the dark.   Perhaps in a dark parking lot, somewhere remote, where no one can see what you are doing, behind closed doors.  Any behavior that may even give the hint of sexual immorality is to be avoided (Ephesians 5:3-11).  In 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, what does Paul urge us to do when it comes to sexual immorality?  Why are we to flee from this sin?  Why shouldn’t we confront it?   Do you believe your body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit?  If you do, why then would you subject God’s Spirit to grief by lusting or using your body against itself?



Jesus, in Matthew 15:18-20, mentioned the sins that make our relationships impure.  What about these things He mentioned make us “unclean”?   Why are they a problem in our relationships?  Do these sins generate good “vibes” (feelings) amongst us?  Do they encourage us?  What is the end result of sexual immorality?  Read Revelation 21:8 to find out.  Lust is obviously is something very destructive for us.  It destroys the very thing God wants to create in us (Romans 1:26-32; Ephesians 4:18, 19; 2 Peter 2:17-22).  Many warnings are written concerning lust.  Heed them!


I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.Psalm 101:3


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