<<craving, yearn after>>

It is an inappropriate longing to possess what can’t be obtained by legitimate means or is forbidden; that is, it is an unnatural, perverted or very self-centered desire. God’s command is not to covet what belongs to another but if you see what someone else has and put in the effort to obtain a similar result it is not lust, although “A man’s life does not consist in his many possessions” for “Contentment with godliness is a great blessing” (Ex 20:17; Lk 12:15; 1 Tim 6:6,8).

Lust occurs when a natural, wholesome desire becomes, ‘I must have it at any price’ regardless of the conditions and price tag. The focus is on me and my desires. All perspective is lost to satisfy the craving demands of the fleshly urges to be met now; it does not consider the feelings of others or what is best, nor the long-term consequences

Am I harbouring any wrong impure desires in my heart?

as it only looks at the short-term self-gratification. Lust is the opposite to love which is motivated by patience, giving and doing the best for the other person.

“The cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father...” (1 Jn 2:16). The cravings of the flesh result from the failure to discipline the natural human passions, the lust of the eyes is the tendency to be captivated by outward show, and the pride of life is pretentious egoism or selfishness.

If the Holy Spirit convicts our conscience of lustful desires, we can respond either positively by repenting or negatively by rationalising and straying further from the light. Scripture says that we are not to make any provision for the sinful nature, instead ‘reckoning ourselves dead’ to our life before we met Christ (Rom 6:11, 13:14). As Christians, we are not to live by the world’s pattern, instead being transformed by having renewed minds, thinking Godly thoughts and relying on His divine power to escape the corruption of the “lustful desires of sinful human nature” (Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8; 2 Pet 1:4, 2:18). The Bible’s advice is to “Flee the evil desires of youth [and all stages of life], and pursue righteousness…” by living in a close relationship with Christ so the sensual desires won’t override the spiritual (Gal 5:16-18; 2 Tim 2:22).

While it is normal and natural for people of the opposite gender to be attracted to each other, it only becomes sin when this interest turns into lust – the desire to do something sexually immoral. Jesus even said, impure sexual thoughts are sinful, not just the physical action (Mt 5:27,28). Job said, “I will not look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). The entry points into our minds, (particularly our eyes) which fuel our imagination need to be disciplined to keep us pure in thought and action (Ps 119:9,11; Prov 4:23; 1 Jn 2:15,16).  The Bible’s advice is to “Treat older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older woman as mothers, younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Tim 5:1,2).

We are to take captive every wrong ‘not of God’ thought, with our desires being under control (2 Cor 10:4,5; Gal 5:22,23). “Do not let sin reign in your life so you obey its evil desires” for although once we were slaves to lust now we are over-comers as we follow

Am I controlled in my thought life?

the counsel to put off the old lifestyle  (Rom 6:6,11-14, 7:5, 13:14; Gal 5:16,24; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9). Deal with such dangers swiftly – “Can a person play with fire and not be burned?” (Prov 6:27,28).

See also: attraction, conscience, contentment, covet, desires, entry points, fantasy, immorality, pornography, possessions, put off/put on, self-control, sensual, temptation, thinking/thoughts.