Is This Love or is This Lust?

Lust

Now a days there are very few TV shows that my wife and I find the time to sit down and watch.  However, there is one we really like called Seal Team.  During one of the latest episodes a solider was about to be deployed for 3 months into Afghanistan and he had to tell his girlfriend at the time.  Her first comment was, “Your deployment will be longer than we have been together.”  Later in the episode he ends up proposing to her before he leaves for his deployment.  The first thought that came into my mind when he proposed was, “Is this Love or is this Lust?”

Related Content: The Message Sex Sends

I have a general sense of what lust means, but if asked to describe it to someone I wouldn’t have had a stellar answer.  That prompted me to look up the dictionary definition and more importantly what the Bible says about it.

Merriam-Webster dictionary describes lust as:

A): Pleasure, Delight; B): personal inclination; C): usually intense or unbridled sexual desire – “He was motivated more by lust than by love.” D): an intense longing

When I’m dealing with a word that has multiple meanings or definitions I like to pick out one or two key words that sums it up.  Looking at the dictionary definitions above, the words Personal and Pleasure jump out to me.  Let’s see if this agrees with what scripture has to say about the subject.

Matthew 5:28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NLT)

 In this verse Jesus puts lust and adultery in the same company.

I think we can all agree that adultery is an extremely selfish and self-pleasing act that destroys marriages, families, and lives.  The fact that Jesus uses these two words in the same sentence let’s us know how serious this really is.  Lust is about possession and greed which is the complete opposite of what we, as Christians, are called to in this life.  We are called to a selflessness and holy life which is laid out beautifully in Romans 6:19.

Psychiatrist Judith Orloff M.D. wrote an article in Psychology Today in regards to love vs. lust.  In the article there was one stat that I found extremely interesting;

 “Studies suggest that the brain in this phase is much like a brain on drugs.  MRI scans illustrate that the same area lights up when an addict gets a fix of cocaine as when a person is experiencing the intense lust of physical attraction.”

Knowing how dangerous lust really is (both spiritually and psychologically) the best remedy I have found is to cut off the fuel supply.

We all have certain triggers that instantly pull us into the trap of sexual desires.  Knowing those triggers ahead of time can help us avoid them at all cost.  I look at it as though I’m walking through a battle field covered in land minds with each one marked by a flag.  No one in their right mind would walk up to one of those flags and start jumping around to set the bomb off right?  We need to view lust (and sin in general) the same way.  If we can see it coming we need to avoid it at all costs.

Of course, the other way to combat the pull of lust is to replace it with scripture.  When God’s word fills up our hearts there is no room left for sinful desires.  We can also use accountability partners, software, and counseling to help us in the fight.  If you are interested in other tips and tricks they can be found in the blog post entitled, “The United States of Pornography.”

If you are struggling with lust in any fashion now is the time to come clean before God, ask for his forgiveness, and surrender your life to him.

Related Content: 116 Clique – Temptation

Application Questions;
How do you define lust?
Are there any other sins that can lead to lust?
Has God granted you victory over any lust(s) in your life?

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Written by Garrett Thompson

Joshua 1:9 - I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. (CEV)