Is the Grass Greener?
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in a passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)
Lust makes us think that having some person we don’t have would make us happier. Often that person is a figment of our imagination. Even if that person is real, we often attach character traits to him or her that are not real. Usually our lust focuses on sexual involvement. This is a terrible deception, for we forget or ignore the devastating consequences of carrying out our imaginations.
Sensual imaginations reveal our selfish desire for stimulation. Unchecked, sensual stimulation actually increases the desire. We see this exhibited in several ways. For example, one of the primary reasons people smoke or consume alcohol or drugs is to stimulate their physical senses.
As a person continues in this selfish frame of mind, the desire grows until they need regular and increasing doses of stimulation. Men who stimulate their minds through sensual photographs need increasingly more violent pictures to remain stimulated. The same is true for sexual involvement in marriage.
The motivation behind extramarital affairs seems to be very different for men and women. Men tend to lust for physical release or conquest, viewing women as challenges for satisfying their sexual drives. Women, on the other hand, tend to involve themselves in affairs because of their deep need for communication and a meaningful relationship that is not being met.
How can we use this emotion to strengthen our relationship with God? There are three areas we will look at:
- Recognize the motivation behind lust. Lust is not serving a person in love; it is viewing a person as an object to be used. This happens even in marriage. With my wife, Amy, I had to realize that I was violating God’s law by trying to use her for my own happiness rather than loving her by serving her needs.
- Lust can reconfirm our awareness that God—not another’s body, not even our mate’s—is the source of our fulfillment. As pleasurable as sex can be, it can never substitute for the lasting joy and satisfaction of knowing God.
- In the midst of lustful thoughts, as an act of our will, we can pray and give those thoughts to God. You could pray something like this: “Lord, I know there are times when I wish my mate acted sexier. And there are even times I have thoughts about being in the arms of another person. But right here and now I continue to trust you to fill my life with what I need. I am willing to rest and wait in your faithfulness. I know You’ll meet my needs as You always have.”
Since God knows our thoughts, we can share with Him and admit we don’t understand. Paul states in Romans 8:26-27: ” ... the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance to God.”
What warning lights flash most frequently in your life? Jealousy, envy, or lust? Take the time that is necessary to deal with those emotions.
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