It’s hard living in this day and age without encountering the temptation to lust. The word “lust” as defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is an “unusually intense or unbridled sexual desire.”
Why is it important for us not to yield to our lustful tendencies? The Bible offers us several reasons.
God wants us to be holy
“God’s will for you is to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” (I Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT)
Even though we might believe that God is God and that His commandments for us are meant to protect us, as sinners we struggle with God’s will and love for us. God’s desire for us to be holy is so we can focus on what’s truly important in our lives—loving and serving Him and spreading that love to others. If we instead focus our attention on transitory, earthly delights, we might be satisfied temporarily, but we’ll still end up wanting me and feeling strangely empty.
What does it mean to be holy? According to I Peter 1:13-16, being holy means preparing your mind for action, exercising self-control, putting your hope in Jesus, and being obedient. In other words, to be Christ-like, for Jesus is holy.
God wants us to be focus on our mission
“So put to death the sinful things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world… Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and be like him.” (Colossians 3:5, 10 NLT)
By focusing on our own needs and wants, we can fall danger to neglecting the needs of those around us. When we lust over someone, we do not honor the other person. We might not give the other person the respect she or he deserves. And God wants us to treat others with respect because doing so is a reflection of how Jesus regards us.
God wants us to depend on Him
“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.” (Psalm 51:7-8 NLT)
Thankfully, even if we do yield to temptation, God is always ready to embrace us if we ask Him to forgive our sins. God knows that as flawed humans, we have messed up—and we will mess up again and again. But because He loves us so much, He allowed His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. So, if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, we know that we can turn to God again and again without fearing condemnation.
“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:17-18 NLT)
Whatever might prompt you to lust, the Words of God can hearken and warm our hearts. They can remind us that there is an out, and that out includes being enveloped by God’s deep love and grace. Focus on and meditating on God’s Word is not just so we can prevent ourselves from consuming the delicious apple before us; it is so we can be nourished by so much God’s love that the most juicy apple pales in comparison.
If lust is an issue for you, finding accountability and reading God’s Word can strengthen you. Abide has partnered with Covenant Eyes, which provides users with ways to avoid those temptations online.
Need additional support? Our partners at Covenant Eyes provide a way to have accountability via the internet.