Lust. An animal appetite that becomes an intense longing for self-gratifying pleasure. A beautiful gift from God twisted by the corrupt nature of man into an excessive, unrestrained, and controlling passion. A desire coveted by the flesh that is forbidden by God. A cruel taskmaster that demands more and more while becoming less and less satisfied. Pick your definition. They are all true.
The unbeliever, a two-dimensional creature of body and soul, as are the animals, lives according to the lusts of his flesh. Sexual lust is manifested in pornography, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and/or a filthy thought life. Lust for pleasure is fed by drunkenness, hallucinogenic or mind-altering drugs, partying, or obsessive recreation. A lust for food is seen in gluttony. A lust for money and material wealth fuels greed and dominates conversation.
The born-again believer in Jesus Christ, a three-dimensional creature of body, soul, and spirit (John 3:3-8, 2 Cor 5:17, John 1:12), is certainly not immune to lust. All of us can attest to that! When the believer shifts his focus from Jesus Christ and the spiritual things of God to himself and the things of the world, the lust of his flesh and the lust of his eyes soon tyrannizes his life again as it did before the spiritual birth.
Whether in the life of an unbeliever or in the life of a believer, lust
• Burns (Rom 1:18-27, Prov 6:23-29)
• Deceives (Ps 81:11-13)
• Corrupts (2 Peter 1:4)
• Destroys (1 Cor 10:5-8, James 1:14-15, 1 John 2:15-17)
It was lust in the heart of Eve that led to a choice that defiled God’s perfect creation (Gen 3:6, 1 Tim 2:14, Rom 5:12-14). It was the lust of the flesh in the hearts of the children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness that resulted in a plague from the Lord and the burial of the dead in Kibroth-hattaavah, which means “grave of lust” (Num 11:4-34).
Lust killed man spiritually and will kill him physically. Lust is self-centered. Lust is sin and death. But, praise God, Jesus Christ delivered us from our lusts (Rom 5:15-19)! By His death, we who put our faith in Him are freed from the bondage of this cruel taskmaster (John 8:32). The born-again believer now has the power to say “No!” to lust when it comes knocking on our hearts and minds. The wicked, unrestrained passions of our flesh no longer control the lives of those who walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16, Rom 8:2-6).
When Jesus Christ is the Lord of a man’s life (Rom 10:9-10) and he lives in submission to the will of God (Matt 16:24-26), he desires different things. Rather than the things of the world, the child of God has a passionate longing for the things of God and the presence of God (Ps 27:4, Ps 37:4-5, Ps 42:1-2, Ps 73:23-28, Ps 84:10, Ps 145:18-20, Prov 3:11-18).
Is lust controlling your life? A steady and robust diet of The Word of God, prayer, and fellowship with like-minded believers (Acts 2:42) will curb your hunger for the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.