July 25, 2007

A Deadly Sin: Lust

Romans 1:18-32

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit ... Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20


By definition, lust is intense desire. We sometimes talk about lust for power or money.

The deadly sin the church talks about, though, relates to sexual desire. That's what Romans 1 addresses. Sex is a wonderful gift that God has given to and for marriage. The desire for sexual intimacy is not wrong in itself. God created people with sexual desire and with this potential to bless marriage.

But lust can take my mind or heart or action outside the boundaries God intended. I run into trouble when lust shapes the way I see people, the way I see sex, the way I see love. When I nurture lust and let it advance in my heart, I am destroying relationships with others.

Sexual sin also damages my relationship with myself. Sexual intimacy is not where we really find ultimate fulfillment. What we really crave is to love and be loved by another, and we don't need sex for that. As one psychologist put it, lust desires to gain with fantasy partners what can only be gained through the loving giving of oneself.

Lust turns me away from the very thing I most deeply need and desire. The more I turn from love to lust, the more I also turn away from God. That's why it's so deadly. That's why I need to ask myself not just about lust but about where I am in giving my love to others.

Lord, sexual sin is all around; it's close to our hearts. Please help me not simply to fight lust but also to pursue love the way you intended. Help me to find love first in you. Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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