What does it mean to lust? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My wife’s priest talked once about going to a youth camp and having the young boys come up and say “I’m struggling with lust.” This was often spoken of in secret as if it would be big news that young Christian boys deal with lust. I suspect there would be far more concern if they were NOT dealing with lust.
So let’s look at the passage in question in Matthew 5.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Let’s start off first with what lust is not. Lust is not noticing that a woman is beautiful, even if she’s not your wife. (Keep in mind, I am saying this for men, but women just reverse the claims and it fits for you too.) That’s just acknowledging reality. God made the human body to be beautiful and I think even women would agree that the female body in particular is uniquely beautiful.
Throughout Scripture, when a woman is praised, one of the main qualities praised about her is her beauty. No more beautiful women were found in the land than the daughters of Job. Esther was prized for her unique beauty and won the king’s favor. Abigail was said to be discerning and beautiful. The Song of Songs is quite explicit with the glorious features of the woman.
Lust is more in the how and why you are looking at the woman. A constantly stare can very easily become lust. If all you think about is just using the woman for your own pleasure, then you have a problem. I do not think you have a problem if you are, for example, engaged to a woman and you look at her and you dream of your upcoming wedding night when you can give all your love to her. A man will naturally wonder what he has to look forward to when he gets to take all the clothes off the woman he loves. Spoiler alert single men: You won’t be disappointed.
If you are engaging with pornography, you are definitely involved in lust. Pornography teaches you to use women and gives you false ideas of what women like and don’t like. Pornography is simply a lie. Also, it won’t spice up your marriage as some think. It might have some short-term benefits, but in the long-term, it will only hurt.
Every woman out there is someone’s daughter and needs to be treated with respect. She is not just a body. She is a person. Treat her like just a body and you miss out.
By the way women, if you want to change the way you’re often treated, then make sure you let every man know you’re worth waiting for. Women really control the sex market. Guys are the huge majority of the times the ones buying as it were.
You determine how much you’re worth before you give yourself entirely to a man. One date? A week? Three weeks? A month? Six months? A year? Engagement? Or are you worth a lifetime commitment paid upfront? There are many women who have given themselves to the man in their lives thinking that then he will love her only to find that a few days later he dumps her and moves on to his next conquest.
And guys, even after you marry it is good to always be pursuing your wife. Don’t just do it when you want something, which face it, is usually 24/7. Do it just for her. Stop and get random gifts just because.
Ultimately though, what makes lust similar to hate is the cost/benefit analysis. The danger with lust is that it means that all things being equal, if you got the chance and you thought the benefits outweighed the cost, you would have sex with someone you’re not married to. Many an affair starts with just a man and a woman on their lunch break and just talking together and then not too much later they’re meeting in a hotel room because “This person just truly understands me!” Very few spouses wake up one morning and say “I think I’ll screw up my marriage and have an affair!”
There is hardly any drive more powerful in people than the sex drive and it can totally overcome reason when left unchecked. Like all others though, it starts off small, with lust. Deal with the problem at the root before it becomes a deadly plant.