Do you have a problem with “lust”? I heard that sudden intake of breath and imagined the shocked look on your face that I would start my blog with that meddlesome question. But before you begin a stammering litany of “true confessions”, read on.
There’s a lot more driven by lust than merely sex – though that appears to be a major motivator in the today’s deluge of uninhibited, irresponsible sex, which is both propelled by and contributing to the plethora of movies, TV shows, and music that focus on sexual relationships and unbridled passions. But, there’s a lot more to the problem of “lust”, which is a driving force in the 21st Century world, than libido.
One of our favorite comedies is “What About Bob?” staring Bill Murray. There is a scene where “Bob” is trying to convince his psychiatrist that he has to have treatment right away; he says: “You’ve got to help me. Come on: I need! I need! I want! I want! ”
This is really what lust is all about – perceived “need” which is no more than strong desire for something.
Like other typical American women, I am somewhat fashion conscious. Though I often don’t dress in the latest styles (I can’t afford to), I am very conscious of my lack of what’s “in” at any given time. It’s easy for me to be content with my wardrobe contents, until I go shopping. When I walk through the mall I can see at least 20 clothing items that cause me to relate to Bob’s plea: “I need, I need – I want, I want”.
After such a foray, I return home, look in my closet, and discover that nothing I have is “in style”. And I make myself a promise that as soon as I have a little extra money, I’ll revisit such and such a store and update my now pitiful wardrobe. I am the victim of a small elitist group of fashion designers, who don’t know or care about me personally, and who through their latest creations have relegated everything in my closet to become obsolete in one or two fashion seasons.
Clothing may not be your hang-up. Your area of desire may be houses, or cars, or gadgets, or food, or sex, or gossip, or popularity, or success, or control, or something else you don’t have enough of. But if you look closely, “lust” is there, hidden under the surface of your spirituality . . . maybe even connected to your spirituality. Perhaps your lust is for Biblical knowledge, spiritual experiences, or recognition of your service or spiritual gifts – “the pride of life”.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16
We need to learn to desire things of eternal value; to be as concerned about the clothing of our spirits as we are about material clothing. Jesus said:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matt. 6:33
All of these lusts – of flesh, eyes, and pride, are not of the Father, but of the world.
“And the world passes away, and the lust of it.” 1 John 2:17
So, what desires do you need to surrender today? What is it you just can’t get enough of?
Prayer: Father, deliver me from greed for possessions or reputation, except that the possessions be the fruits of your Holy Spirit, and that the reputation be as a child of God who loves others as you love them. May the strongest desires I feel, be for things of your kingdom.
©2012, Marcy Alves
- Daily Devotional | The Daily Battle (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
My husband loves spicy food. Before we started on a basically vegetarian diet, David would often have need of an anti-acid after a really spicy meal. His digestive system seems to have improved since we are eating more healthily.
But, both of us have times of “heartburn”. And the cause of our heartburn has to do with times of encounter with the Lord, not spicy food.
After the death and burial of Jesus, two of his followers were walking on the road to Emmaus when suddenly a “stranger” joined them. At the time they did not recognize who it was. They did not know it was the risen Lord.
According to Luke 24:16 “They were kept from recognizing Him.” By what? By Divine intervention? By grief? By disappointment?
Sometimes we all are also kept from recognizing God in our circumstances, through grief, or disappointment, or some other reason. Maybe you had great plans for your life or your ministry, but they don’t seem to be working out the way you thought they would. We’ve been there.
Sometimes we can’t see the next thing that God is moving us toward because we have gotten stuck on the last thing that may not have worked out in the way we had imagined.
We don’t see the hand of God in our failure or disappointment. We forget that He is “the One”. He is still in control. He does have a plan.
Though the disciples on the road to Emmaus did not recognize Jesus, there was something about being with him that they later recalled. In Luke 24:32 “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They went on to be witnesses of his resurrection to the disciples who, at first, didn’t believe them.
Jesus said the “pure in heart” shall see God. Those with a single eye, single minded, keeping their focus on Him, will see Him and will recognize Him in all circumstances.
The reason some of our hearts have ceased burning within us is that we have stopped spending time with Him, listening to Him, looking for Him. We run into prayer time with our requests and burdens, but we don’t take time to listen.
Sometimes we don’t even go into that quiet space, because we get too busy.
Maybe, like the disciples, we are “slow of heart to believe what the Scriptures say” because we are looking at circumstances through the eyes of the world and not the eyes of Christ.
If our hearts are going to continue to “burn within us” for the things of God, we have to keep our single-minded focus on our relationship with the Father, no matter the way things appear at any given moment.
That’s where I am right now. How about you?