by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)

Scriptures: 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 1 John 2:15-16; 2 Sam. 11:1-27; James 1:13-15; Gen. 39

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you” (ESV).

Lust as a Root:
Definition: “Lust is an insatiable craving to gratify your fleshly desires by seeking to satisfy a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way. Truth is we can lust after money/possessions – greed; food – gluttony; and recognition – pride. But for the sake of our study today, we’re going to discuss lust w/in the context of sexuality.”*

Let's remind ourselves beforehand though, that under God, sexuality is a gift, an expression of joy and pleasure to be shared in marriage within the context of a loving relationship. But since the fall, sexuality has been perverted in every way imaginable through acts of lust and self-gratification which are contrary to God’s plan.

So, what do we do? Well, Paul tells us in Colossians 3. He tells us to “Put to death...whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.”

You see, lust originates in the flesh. Its origin is found in the flesh and has entry points to the soul which include the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.

1 John 2:15-16:
“Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that’s in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t of the Father, but is of the world.”

Ever since the fall, the flesh (or natural man) craves just one thing – immediate and complete satisfaction and gratification at all costs. The flesh is filled with a desire to satisfy its shameful appetites, its flashy appearances, and its shallow applause. It will indulge in all kinds of immoral and perverse ways in an attempt to satisfy its desires but they will never be fulfilled.

The flesh is totally depraved – completely self-centered and self-indulgent. It is only capable of gratifying itself and perverting what God intended for good into something contrary to the heart and will of God.

Lust must be destroyed by power of the Holy Spirit. It must be put to death – which is only possible through the cross. No one can overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life without the work of Christ on the cross. The cross sets a mankind free and enables him or her to walk in the grace of God.

Lust as Reality:
2 Samuel 11:1-27
This passage is the story of David and Bathsheba. I'll let you read, or re-read, this on your own as it is too much to cover for a forum like this. But we will look at some points from this passage and apply them.

The first mistake we see that David made in this passage was remaining idle. As the old cliché' says, “Idle hands are the devil's workshop.” So, if this is true, then an idle mind must be the devil's playground.

Kings normally went out to war with their troops, but David stayed in Jerusalem. I'm not sure if David had gotten lazy and content and so ended up setting himself up for failure, but it's clear he didn’t take the war seriously.

I think many of us don’t take the battle for our hearts and minds seriously enough. Maybe we question the devil’s existence, maybe we gamble a bit because we know we have the Spirit, I think we even find ourselves getting a thrill out of tempting temptation. But we seriously underestimate the reality and power of Satan forgetting that he is out to get our minds off of God, to destroy our families, our reputations, and our lives. Although we are indeed saved and protected by the Almighty, we must not let our guards down in regards to the enemy.

David's Second Mistake:
He showed an interest in that which he should not have. One can never satisfy the appetite that lust has. If you feed it only a little, it just craves more and more.

Do you ever think about ants? They are an incredible insect. Certain kinds of ants have a passion for the sweet, granular substance given off by the caterpillar of a blue butterfly. They become so addicted to it they seek out the supplier and carry him home to their nest. But they unwittingly bring home an enemy in disguise, sort of like a Trojan Horse, because what happens is the caterpillar gorges himself on ant larva. Usually this kind of a threat to the ant colony would be defended with tenacity, but the adults enjoy the tasty secretions of the guest so much that they become oblivious of the fact that their young are being devoured in the process.

James 1:13-15
“Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they entice him away and trap him. Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.”

We all know the word “entice,” but did you know it is a fishing term? It means to lure by using bait. The #1 lure for catching bass is known as a jig? The best jigs have been crafted in such a way as to carefully hide the hook, hide it just enough. The devil knows that if he can peak our interest with lust, peak is just enough, he has us right on course to getting hooked.

The Third Mistake of David:
Intoxication was the next step in luring David. I don't mean the intoxication that comes from drinking alcohol, I'm referring to the kind of intoxication caused by our tendency to “flirt” with lust trying to get as close to sin as possible without actually committing a sinful act.

An example:
“A wealthy couple desired to employ a chauffeur. The wife advertised, the applicants were screened, and (4) candidates were brought to her for the final selection. She called the prospective men to her balcony and pointed out a brick wall alongside the driveway. She asked the men, "How close do you think you could come to that wall w/out scratching my car?" The 1st man felt he could drive w/in a foot of the wall w/out damaging the car. The 2nd felt sure he could come w/in (6) inches. The 3rd believed he could get w/in (3) inches. The 4th candidate said, "I do not know how close I could come to the wall w/out damaging your car. Instead, I would try to stay as far away from that wall as I could." This candidate had a different focus. He understood that true skill in driving is not based so much on the ability to steer the car to a narrow miss as on the ability to keep a wide margin of safety.”**

David started fantasizing and developed plans to fulfill his lust. He began to ignore his conscience and justify his thoughts. He was consumed with Bathsheba, I think we can say by the actions he took he was obsessed with the thought of her.

Any time a person starts to dwell in their mind on the possibility of sin, they are well on their way to committing sin. What happens is the more you look the more you desire – the problem is that what was so exciting the first time becomes less exciting the second time, and so on until it loses its allure and may even become boring.

This is why pornography holds so much power, why it's so addictive. You look at Playboy and it keeps your attention for a while, but soon you need more. Soon one moves on to other more explicit magazines. Then you’re trying out some softcore pornography online which then leads right down the road to hardcore porn. And even then, you continue to become desensitized and one finds themselves only getting excited by visual scenes that would have thoroughly disgusted them only a short time ago. The seemingly harmless Playboy viewing has resulted in a full blown addiction to porn, and not only that, but soon only the raunchiest material is able to give you that fix that you crave.

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