Today's post will not be all about sex, or about sex at all really, for while the first thing that might come to mind is men and women lusting after each other, we all lust after a whole lot of other things to varying degrees.
Merriam-Webster defines lust as an intense desire or craving for something. And their example sentences are interesting, none including sexual desire: "He was driven by his lust for power" and "Lust for chocolate drove her to the candy store." Perhaps you've also heard mention the term "techno-lust" or even "wanderlust." We all have intense desires or cravings for things. Being pregnant, sometimes I want a very specific type of food, when any number of things in the fridge would certainly suffice nutritionally.
In addition to food, I can be driven by admiration lust, vacation lust, new baby lust, alone time lust, new clothing lust, money lust, etc. And, as with anger, I feel that when the desire takes over, the sin compounds and soon I'm discontent, impatient with those around me, angry, and so on. It's difficult to take sins separately without speaking a bit of how they're like a tangled ball of knitting yarn in our hearts, isn't it?
When we find the [insert your type]-lust growing in our hearts, it is the time for action! The craving, and the desire to fill it A. S. A. P., signals we're lacking something, feeling empty, and moving toward filling the void with something temporal and ultimately unsatisfying.
Action point #1 is to REMEMBER who we were, who we now are, and who we're becoming:
Ephesians 2:1-5As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 BUT because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 BUT our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
It's important to remember that but for the grace of God, go I. Without God the Father's rescue plan, without Jesus' work on the cross and His resurrection, without the in-dwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, our god is our stomach too. When we're dealing with sin, we cannot look around us and compare our behavior - in thought, word, and deed - with those around us. The measuring stick is God's holiness.
And because of His great love, He has shown us mercy. We deserve death and He gives life, even life eternal with Him. Sometimes it can cause you to tremble.
It is good to REMEMBER; in remembering we're moved to repentance and faith.
Action point #2 GO DEEP
Allow the Spirit's surgical tools, the Word and prayer, to open you up and expose what's under the lust. The object of your lust is not the problem, it's your heart "looking for love in all the wrong places" that's the issue. Are you feeling lonely, fearful, out of control, unloved, insecure, etc.? These desires can find their fulfillment in Christ who calls you His beloved son or daughter, who knit you together, who has plans for you, who promises to never leave or forsake you, whose yoke is easy and burden is light, who has overcome the world. Be honest with the Lord. He already knows your desires and (believe it or not) He wants to give you desires of your heart as you delight in Him. (Psalm 37:4) Turn your eyes upon Jesus and faithfully watch Him fulfill your desires in ways better than you could have by chasing after earthly things or making a wonderful plan. For the desires of themselves are not wrong; but satisfying them apart from the Lord is. I wonder what God will do in your life and in mine in this area of lust? Can't wait to see and I bet it will be GOOD!
Have a wonderful weekend, friends! Tomorrow you can give a listen to a hymn that has been on my mind all week that I pray will bless you too. And Monday, we'll return to the regularly scheduled program ... laziness/sloth might be a good topic for a Monday, eh? Also, if you attend City Reformed Church here in Pittsburgh and have not been attending the fall's Sunday school class, please join in. It's called "How Christian's Change" and there's lots of overlap with our theme here at Life in the Valley.