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Rev. Paul J. Bucknell
Purpose: ￼When do desires become sin? Or looking become lust? Or beauty becomes porn? 'A Secret Look at Lust' is the second lesson on 'Embracing God's Love, Overcoming Lust' which tries to clarify what is bad with lusts and when they become evil. This lesson is the seventh in a series on "Reaching Beyond Mediocrity."
The main sinful problem with lust is the way it commands the person to repeatedly prioritize his or her wants over the proper treatment of people and things. There will be those who protest this statement by saying that nothing is wrong with pornography because it doesn't hurt anyone. One needs to carefully analyze what Jesus said.
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28 - Six test cases for love).
Is it wrong to look upon a woman to lust for her? Is it only evil when a man hurts a woman's physical person or that she is being forced or tricked? No. We need to understand that lust is like a black hole that consumes good and only oozes forth darkness. Every time we lust for a person, place or thing, we hold back a multitude of good.
Lust's sin should not only be looked at in the way it harms another person. Lust keeps our own persons from accomplishing the good that God has planned out for our lives (See more - Ephesians 2:10).
Think of it like this. You have one hour. What will you do in that one hour? You could choose to sneak a look at pornography and covet what you see. Or conversely, you could kindly spend time with your wife who possibly has given you the cold shoulder. In the first scenario, a man has given up on his responsibility to always tenderly love his wife. Instead, he has willingly forsaken his covenant to his wife and committed adultery in his heart.
In the second scenario he chooses to patiently love her and work towards building up trust between them. This is no doubt what she wants and needs. In the first case, the husband withdrew his love, selfishly gave into his desires and became less of a man, husband and father for it. In the second, he remembered his calling as a husband and child of God and determined by God's grace to graciously encourage his wife with his faithfulness.
Sexual lust is only one form of lust. It is the most well known since the sexual revolution of the 1960s when people started openly admitting to and promoting immoral relationships.
See next how it is important to see how the word for lust is used in the Bible.