Being that this month is about love and the legacy of African American history, I think we should talk about lust. Great Segway, right? Go with me on this one as we flesh (pun intended) this out and hopefully get to some practical resolutions and ways to liberate ourselves from the bondage of lust.
Before I get in to my take on lust, I have to attack the notion and the tendency of the church to focus on the acts or the symptoms of lust (rubbernecking, impure thoughts, masturbating, pornography etc.) and guilt tripping its sufferers instead of trying to diagnose the cause or the underlying condition and introducing the remedy. My hope for this (my very first & very close to home)piece is to advocate for those of us who have identified that our tendencies are not our identities. My goal here is to exalt the liberating nature of God and our pursuit of this same one who will, can, and has saved us from ourselves.
Lust is high on the, “What not to do” list of Christianity. However, often times we weren’t instructed on how not to engage in it. To be very honest, it seems to come so naturally to us. In an effort to clarify, there are two definitions of lust I’m speaking on as we push forward. According to the trusty Webster dictionary, lust is 1) usually intense or unbridled sexual desire or 2) an intense longing. We could be tempted to say, what’s so wrong about this?
But I think this is where we need to understand God’s love for us and God being the true definition of love. The word I would highlight in 1 Cor.13:5 about God’s love is that it “is not self-seeking.” Looking at the definitions we are working with is that lust is the complete opposite of love. The foundation of lust is to satisfy a personally seemingly insatiable desire immediately and by any means necessary. What lust, by way of the enemy, does to our subconscious mind is that it tricks us into thinking that we can bring the best satisfaction to our deepest longings, whether for companionship or success. So therefore God is useless. Lust says to our minds and bodies that pornography can bring me a sexual satisfaction right now which God himself can’t provide. Sacrificing sleepless nights to gain more income, striving for success by any means necessary, we say” God my job can provide what you can’t.” This is idolatry,
Don’t get me wrong, neither temptation nor desire is a sin. God simply wants us to seek him first as our Jehovah Jireh, our benevolent provider. Let’s look at Jesus’ example (Luke 4:1-13), coming off of a 40 day fast, no doubt he wanted some “turkey, beans, greens, potatoes, lamb, yams…you name it!” (Shirley Caesar voice), but who was the chef of this meal being offered? Literally the enemy he came to defeat. Jesus wanting/needing food was natural and merited but who would gain the most benefit? Remember love is not self-seeking! Lust is! I think it was very powerful that appetite/desire was one of the temptations of Christ, the same in the Garden. It is powerful because in both instances, provision was present. Adam and Eve were living in abundance and the presence of God yet they perceived lack. Jesus was in the wilderness but he was filled with the Holy Spirit and God’s word, which is where provision resides. By God’s will and word was the Earth created!! Why didn’t Adam and Eve go to the God who provided everything they had, to provide them with knowledge of good and evil? The Giver in their eyes became the closed fisted man upstairs. They felt the need to provide for themselves what they thought God wouldn’t.
Fast-forwarding to our lustful moments, we are often riddled with loneliness and the desire to be wanted and cared for by someone else (besides your mom). We often can convince ourselves that entertaining thoughts are harmless compared to being physically promiscuous, but Christ says in Matt. 5:28 (AMP), “But I say to you that everyone who (so much as) looks at a woman with lust for her already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So dare I say, each time I entertain not so holy thoughts about that fine man coming my way, I am stepping out on my future husband. Can I say that? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not simply talking about attraction, that’s a different subject. Where do I let my thoughts go when they run wild?
We all know what pornography does to our minds and bodies overtime, is it worth our future? I saw a quote recently, “Lust steals destiny.” What are we forfeiting now for those few moments of pleasure compared to the possible unlimited God-ordained fulfillment that is to come? What if Adam and Eve thought about the possible risks of eating from the tree? What if Jesus didn’t think about the reason he was here and turned that stone into bread to satisfy himself forgetting all about us?
Often times, when operating from lack, we settle for the fries and burger from the dollar menu when God wants to give us steak and potatoes. Reclaim your destiny friends. Go to God for every desire that arises, he’s more than capable to fulfill our every need because he built us knowing exactly what we will need to live this life abundantly. My new definition for lust is lack of trust. We need to trust God as the True Giver of all good gifts, including love, success, sex. All of it. Join me on this this journey to discover the God who provides even in the desert. Jehovah Jireh will provide for our deepest desire.
Dear God, thank you for reminding us that it is by denying yourself the one you loved most and even food after a month’s fast, your sacrifices bought us victory over sin which includes lust. God we surrender all desires! Bring into submission the parts of us that rise up against you. Help us to trust that you can truly supply ALL of our needs. God the enemy wants us to hide our struggles and with guilt and shame stray even further from you. Thank you for always being in pursuit of us. God you are our greatest need. We now acknowledge, as your word says, that when we seek you with all our hearts we will find you. In you there is liberty from the oppression of sexual sin and even just our insatiable need for more money or success. God crucify our flesh. Help us to seek out ways to please you more than ourselves. Please align our desires with yours, amen.