Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

7 Deadly Sins: Lust

This is the final post in a series on the 7 Deadly Sins.  PrideEnvyAngerSlothGreed, and Gluttony have been exposed and now let's tear apart Lust because these sins are not only Deadly Sins, but they are root sins that grow a garden of weedy, ugliness in our lives.

We can Lust for a myriad of things but this post will focus on sexual Lust and will simply say Lust and mean sexual Lust throughout.  Pastor John Piper in the book Killjoys: the Seven Deadly Sins gives Lust this definition, "Lust is a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God."  I find that to be an excellent definition because it gets to the core of why Lust is such a deadly sin.

First, Lust dishonors its object.  Lust sees a body and wants it solely for its own pleasure.  Now, Lust can act out its evil from the seemingly mundane inner fantasy to the unquestionable evil of rape or human trafficking, but Lust is Lust all the same.  As John Piper points out, Lust basically says to the other person, "I want to use your body for my pleasure, but I do not want you as a whole person."  God designed all sexual activity to take place in the covenant of marriage and in marriage you take all of your partner not just their body, Lust acted out in self-pleasuring or in a one-night-stand takes only the physical and even that only when Lust itself can be served.  Sex without commitment dishonors the other person because you're basically saying, "You're not worth it to me."

Second, Lust disregard God Himself.  See, God created sex and in the beginning was quite proud of His creation.  Sex was in the Garden of Eden and was deemed by God Himself to be good and when God says good He means good in comparison to Himself and that is pretty amazing.  But Lust has decided to disregard the designer of sex and all sexuality.  Lust looks at God's design and thinks it can do better.  Lust is a slap in the face of God and direct disobedience to Him; how do you think that will work out for you?

Thirdly, Lust hurts ourselves.  Lust is an empty sexuality at best and at worst a source of physical, spiritual and emotional death.  Lust is an empty sexuality because the best sex is intimate with and focused on the other person.  Husbands and wives living in a good marriage can even fall prey to this.  When we try to serve only ourselves in sex when can miss out on some of the best that sex and sexuality has to offer.  Lust is the source of death for many reasons.  I have talked to many people and read many stories of people that have had their spiritual and emotional selves ravaged by Lust.  Whether victims of rape or addicts of porn these men and women will testify that Lust can ruin you and keep you from real, deep relationships.  Also, to pull a story out of the headlines, Lust can literally kill you.  Charlie Sheen was America's favorite prostitute hiring, porn-star dating, uber-sexual movie star.  We glorified his lifestyle and even lived vicariously through him and now we're seeing a dark side to that life.  Charlie is H.I.V. positive.  Now, he may live a long life with the disease because he has access to great medical care, but what about the ripple of sexual partners that may also have this scary disease but don't have access to his medical resources?  People may physically die from this one man's Lust and he's just one example of Lust's deadliness.

Lust is one of the 7 Deadly Sins for a reason.  It dishonors its object, disregards God and hurts you.  So, how do we kill Lust?  For that I'm going to borrow again from Pastor John Piper in the aforementioned book.  He says to fight Lust with the acronym ANTHEM.

A- Avoid.
Paul said to Timothy, "Flee the evil desires of youth..." 2 Timothy 2:22.  Strong men and women know when to run.  Men, don't go to that website in the first place that shows airbrushed versions of women.  Women, don't read that novel that makes you fantasize about an unrealistic man.

N- No.
As Nancy Reagan suggested, "Just Say No!"  Remember the power that we have over sin in the Gospel.  James 4:7 says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  Say "No" with the authority of Christ and His victory won on Calvary.

T- Turn
Don't just remove Lust; replace Lust with a better thought.  As the old hymns suggests, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus."  Your mind and eyes will be occupied by something, so turn your eyes from the empty suggestions of Lust and onto the superior pleasures God offers.  In some cases, for my married friends, that superior pleasure is looking at your own spouse and even having sex with him/her.

H- Hold
Piper says to hold on to the promises of Christ.  Lust often offers us a quick fix that God does not offer, but we hold on to the promises that the pleasures of this world can't be compared to the pleasures of the next.  And I'd submit that most, if not all, of the pleasures God offers here and now surpass what Lust can offer.  Hold on to that truth.

E- Enjoy
John Piper also says, "One reason Lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal."  To defeat any sin, including Lust, we must be taken far more with the pleasures God offers.  As mentioned above, the thrills offered by God are beyond any other.

M- Move
As we saw when we looked at Sloth, laziness is dangerous.  Satan does some of his best work in our boredom.  Are you having a lustful thought?  Move.  Do something productive, run, play basketball, chase a squirrel... it doesn't matter what you do so much as that you do something.  If you and your girlfriend are so worked up that you fear you might slip up, then take a walk, play tennis, do something other than entertain the invitation to sin.

Lust is a tough sin.  I deal with it, not as much as I did when I was single, but I still deal with it and I'm sure I'll deal with it until death.  Lust is a tough sin, but a beatable sin nonetheless.  We may lose battles with this sin, but it's a war we must wage and win.

Fight Lust and all the 7 Deadly Sins today.

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