What Does Lust Mean In The Bible

Lust can be described as a strong feeling of desire, longing, and want for something. In the Bible, lust is a sinful act and has been associated with immorality and wickedness in both Old and New Testament. The Bible does not directly define lust as it does other topics such as greed, gluttony and pride but it does refer to it several times throughout its pages.

In the Bible, the term “lust” mainly appears in the New Testament, such as Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. The concept of lust is also referred to in James 1:14-15, which says, “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”. This scripture clearly states that when we give into our own lustful desires, it brings death, destruction, and sin.

The Bible teaches that lustful thoughts, imaginations and speech leads to actions and sins that break God’s law. For instance, in 1 John 2:16, it states, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” In this passage, we can see that lust is a desire that comes from the world and not from God. Therefore, God is against individuals giving into their lustful desires.

Proverbs 6:25 tells us to “Stay away from her, don’t go near the door of her house” which is referring to the adulteress or prostitute. This type of warning is present throughout the Bible calling us to flee from sexual immorality and to fight against our lustful impulses. According to Pastor Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, “Lust, ultimately, is an inward attitude of our hearts that must be monitored, judged and ruled over by Scripture in order to stay in line with God’s will.”

The Bible often uses marriage and sex as an example to describe how God intends for us to express our love for one another. For instance, 1 Corinthians 7:2-4 states, “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”

By comparing lust to adultery and idolatry, the Bible emphasizes that physical and psychological idolatry is prohibited, and that we are only to be faithful to God and to our spouse. Ultimately, this means that it is best to keep our thoughts and desires from straying from our partner. According to Proverbs 5:18-19, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love”.

Practical Tactics On How To Overcome Lust

Lust, like all sins, can be overcome with God’s help and the support of other believers. While it can be difficult to overcome lustful urges, there are several practical tactics one can take to overcome them. For example, Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:40 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. This reveals an important truth: when we love those who wrong us, it gives us an opportunity to show love to all people, including those who we feel tempted towards. Additionally, abstaining from activities such as watching sexually explicit material or engaging in conversations about lustful fantasies can be key in helping to curb lust.

Moreover, cultivating a positive, healthy attitude towards sex and engaging in activities such as prayer, Bible study, and fellowship can also help to eliminate lust. Finally, seeking accountability and support from those around us is a great way to help defeat lustful temptations. When surrounded with healthy relationships, it can be easier to withstand the temptation towards lust.

The Impact Of Social Media On Lust And The Bible’s Perspective

Social media can have a profound effect on our mental health, as we can be easily exposed to images and conversations related to sex, relationships and other topics which can lead to feelings of insecurity and longing. Beyond images and conversations, a majority of platforms also contain “like” and “share” options that can create a false sense of affirmation, leading us to focus on the desire for attention and “likes” instead of God-given desires to love and serve others.

In his book The Tech-Wise Family, author Andy Crouch explains how media can lead us into demoralizingly shallow worlds, and how God’s trajectory for us is so much better. He emphasizes that media can be used for good, but it can also lead us into a cycle of lawlessness and becoming a slave to it. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus expresses his concern on how we use our iPhones, TVs and tablets to feed our desires, creating further separation from God and putting ourselves in dangerous situations. As Philippians 4:8 reveals, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

How To Keep Our Minds Focused On God

The Bible is clear on the dangers of lust but there are many helpful steps that can be taken to help resist temptation. We must remain cognizant of our thoughts, feelings and desires so that we can identify when we begin to stray away from God. By understanding lust’s root, we can actively work to make sure that our thoughts and actions get aligned with God’s wishes.

John 10:10 summarizes this well when it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” If we take steps to ensure that our focus remains on God and what he desires for us, then we will experience the fullness of life in the way that he intended.

The Danger Of Always Overlooking Lust

Although the Bible places a heavy emphasis on the danger of lust, many people still overlook it and give in to it. This is because lust is easier to succumb to, contrary to cultivating a deeper, spiritual relationship with God and can lead to sinful behaviors that go against His instructions. Rather than seeing lust as something to be embraced, the Bible calls us to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18).

Unfortunately, ignoring of the danger of lust can have a devastating impact on our lives, leading to broken relationships, shattered dreams, and possibly, the ultimate penalty of death. When we choose to ignore God’s call, we put our own desires above His, which will lead to death, both spiritual and physical. Therefore, the understanding of Scripture, combined with practical steps to help resist temptation, can lead to a more enriched, deeper and most important a more obedient life.

The Bible’s Message On Lust & A Way Of Redemption

Through underscoring the dangers of lust, the Bible emphasizes the importance of celibacy and restraint, teaching us that if we deny our own lustful desires, God will reward us with a better life. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, it states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Although it is difficult, we must be willing to turn away from our lustful urges, not letting them take control of our lives.

Furthermore, if we choose to seek God and repent, He is always willing to forgive us. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, it states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” By conforming our life to God’s wishes, we can have a new start, a spiritual refreshing. The Bible also encourages us to foster a spirit of self-control, understanding that by remaining pure and denying our temptations, we will be rewarded in God’s eyes.

The Bible’s Emphasis On Renewing Your Mind

The Bible teaches us that by renewing our minds, we can resist our temptations and be more open to God’s will. By renewing our minds and focusing on eternal, heavenly values, rather than those of this world, we can transform our lives and become more like Jesus. Through this transformation, we can change our actions and attitudes, by living in freedom and obedience to God’s commands, rather than allowing ourselves to be controlled by our own sinful desires.

Romans 12:2 instructs us to ”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” By continually seeking God and spending time in prayer and reading His word, we can begin to resist our sinful desires, turning to Him and relying on His strength to make us strong.

The Victory Of Grace For Those Struggling With Lust

The Bible is clear that overcoming lust is possible, as God’s grace is stronger than our sins. In Romans 8:1-4, the Bible expresses this beautifully, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

This scripture reminds us that we are set free from sin, because God’s love for us is stronger than any law, and He grants us a way out if we rely on Him. By making an intentional effort to abstain from lustful thoughts, speech, and behavior, and relying on God’s word and the support of other believers, we can enable ourselves to experience the fullness of life in the way that God desires.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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