Perspectives on Lust

Daily Post: Lust

lust

If you’re still reading, I’m going to see it as an indication you have an open mind, and want to know what the heck this title really means.  Ok, so let’s start with the standard fare of definitions.  “Lust” can function as noun or verb.  In both forms, lust usually describes a condition of very strong sexual desire, or a passionate desire for some thing.  “Desire, sexual appetite, longing, urge, lechery, randiness” are some sexual synonyms for “lust.” “Crave, covet, ache, want, wish for, yearn for, hanker for,” are some synonyms for the passionate “lust” for things.  My professional opinion is that 99% of humanity does not use this term to mean cravings or appetites that are non-sexual.  We don’t say “I’m lusting for an apple.”  Instead we say, “I’m craving an apple,” even if the craving ultimately borders on what the Bible calls “sin.”

In the Google definitions of “lust” there is a highlighted section called “Theology.”  The definition stated under this heading is: ” a sensual appetite regarded as sinful.”  This definition fits both from a human perspective, and a Biblical one.  Humans are wired to be attracted sexually, and within these designs specifications, all of our 5 senses are engaged.  Here’s a few scripture references to keep us focused:

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Proverbs 6:25
Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes.

Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Romans 8:6
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

James 1:14-15
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 

So can we just all agree that the Bible is pretty clear about the distinction of “lust verses love?”  Can we admit that no one (at least no one I know) would ever say, “I lust for more truth from God?”  Even though “desire” and “cravings” are synonyms for “lust,” no one in their right mind would think the following verse had sexual connotations.

Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.

Yet, the image David paints in this verse, is a deep passionate longing, desire, or craving for more of God.

To repeat: “lust” in today’s world has and will always mean an unhealthy desire, craving, or pursuit of sexual expression, or things which supplant the glory of God in a person’s life.

There is a fine line here, huh?  To desire the glory of God in extreme fashion, at the expense of all other pursuits, is the most natural thing in the world, for the true Christ follower.  Others in the world might see these actions, and attribute some kind of sexual perversion in their interpretation of our lives.  Regardless, does it really matter what other people think, or do you and I give an account of our lives to only ONE Judge?

My uncle Wylie would often say, “Get your mind out of the gutter, you’re crowding me.”  The sexual expression of lost humanity is vividly on display everywhere you turn in this world today, the gutter is quite full.  Lust is often glamorized, exalted, and seen as the most natural of all human expressions.  “Natural” being the operative word here.  For those who are not Christ followers today, each man and woman demonstrates their “natural” lust quite clearly for God to see, deep within their soul, before words are formed, or actions are engaged.  Nothing is hidden, and trust me, God knows whether the actions and attitudes of your life are about Him, and His glory, or you and your lusts.

The pervasive pestilence persists, and there is only ONE cure. (Yesterday’s article)

Lust is the proof.  And there is only one perspective that matters.

God’s.

 

 

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Tootsie Pops vs. Suckers

Daily Post: Lollipop

lollipop

I’ve only had a couple of cavities in my life, and those when I was very young.  While I don’t adhere to the strictest calendar regarding Dentist visits, I’m confident from the last time I was in the hot-seat that I inherited the good teeth gene.  I rarely have that many sweets at one time, and I haven’t had a lollipop or tootsie pop since my twenties.  That’s over 40 years for those who don’t know me well.

Mostly I associate suckers with going to a Doctor (not a Dentist) and getting a treat when the appointment went well, meaning I didn’t cry, whine, or complain when I got a shot.  On the other hand, tootsie pops were my absolute favorite for awhile, because I loved the tootsie roll chocolate center when all the hard candy coating was licked off.  To this day I still like tootsie rolls although you won’t find any in my cupboards.

According to a Daily News 2011 article “Halloween candy is delicious, but lollipops and sticky taffy bars are the worst for your teeth.”  The author of the article says “Fruit is better than candy any time, but try telling that to a child!”  Apparently the worst candies for anyone are taffy and other candies filled with caramel, coconut or nuts, and a close second would be hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers.

Why would someone desire to consume something so obviously harmful to the health of one’s teeth?  That answer is not as hard to come up with as you might think.  In fact this answer is as old as human history.  When the first couple were given instructions on what they could consume for food from the garden, there was only one restriction from the Creator.

Genesis 2:16-17
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.

Along comes the tempter and convinces this couple that God really doesn’t mean they die, and besides that fruit is so good, God is just keeping it all to himself.  It’s good to look at, to smell, to touch, and to taste… so go ahead… you know you want to.  Regardless of what any parent says to their child at Halloween, these are the same words the child hears, when it comes to that stash of candy they just hoarded from the neighborhood.  So who’s to blame for all the cavities?  The kids?  The candy-makers?  The parents?  The Tempter?  God, because He let someone make the candy?  You see the problem?

Ultimately, if children don’t learn to control their urges, desires, or drives, the consumption of sugar, (or worse), could have disastrous results on their teeth, or health, or both.  Is there a simple lesson here?

What if tootsie tolls and lollipops are symbolic of more pressing adult issues which tempt our minds and hearts today?  Paul wrote about three things which have the power to destroy the human existence, from which we must keep constant awareness.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

James 1:13-16
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Everything today that stands against the will of God in your life falls into one of three categories (according to John):  lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boastful pride of life.  These are the three areas which the Tempter will attack you.  Every test that comes your way looks, feels and tastes like a candy treat… but will destroy you if you are not careful.  James says when you give in, committed to the temptation in action (sin), the result is death.

So… when the Tempter offers you lollipops… just say “no.”

It really is that simple.

 

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I got a powerful hankerin’…

via Daily Prompt: Desire

“… for some steak and taters! What did you think I was gonna say?  Get your mind out of the gutter boy, your crowdin’ me.” Or so my uncle Wylie used to say.  I saw a couple of good quotes today regarding: desire.

My purpose in life does not include a hankering to charm society.” ~ James Dean

Hankering after material happiness is called lust & such activities are sure to meet with frustration in the long run.” ~ author unknown

For years, I’ve had a hankering for the portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis.  Franklin is credited with so many inventions: the postal system, lightening rods, the constitution.  He was a rock star before there was such a thing.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi

Everyone has strong desires. Strong desires make us feel alive.  Granted, some people are so driven by their desires that the lusting, craving, longing, aching, passionate search for fulfilling these desires leads to destructive behavior and meaningless or broken relationships.  Such is the nature of desire gone amuck.

It seems some easily justify this powerful hankerin’, as they quote the Bible out of context, simply to bring affirmation to their licentious lifestyle.  Imagine God’s anger when folks twist and pervert David’s words from Psalm 37, to fit their own agenda.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The masquerading hypocrite who uses God’s word to authenticate a “worldly” lifestyle knows nothing of God’s will or ways.  They only see the second part of this verse while ignoring the meaning of “delight yourself in the LORD.”  If we delight in God’s will, His Holy Spirit transforms our human “hankerings” to align with His purposes.  Only when this transformation has taken place can a person “in God’s will” ask, and the desire will be met.  Only because, it was God’s delight first, and these “desires” brings Him glory.

If you need some help with what mis-aligned desires look like, turn to John’s first letter for the details.  God’s Word is pretty specific here:

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

Lust of the flesh = material wealth or goods
Lust of the eyes = human sensuality (all five senses)
Pride of Life = achievement, power, fame

When these hankerings get the best of us, we are definitely not delighting in God, but in ourselves.  We are completely out of balance with what God intended our lives to be.  The pull and power of these three areas (flesh, eyes, pride) is completely destructive.

Now for the positive side of hankerin’.

Don’t miss the more exciting truth of Psalm 37:4… “He will give you the desires of your heart, (when you) delight yourself in the LORD.”  A person of faith knows that God wants only what’s best for them.  This knowledge gives foundation for leaping joyfully, and shouting mightily, telling of the great things God is at work doing in their life.  The person of faith is busy every day discovering and experiencing God’s grace.  This daily experience brings confident living, which shines like a beacon to those walking in darkness.

I have a powerful hankerin’ to be this kind of light … in a very dark world.

Psalm 42:1
As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.