Reflection from my reading in Matt 5:27-48 the One Year Bible New Testament.
In this passage, Jesus touched on one of the most common human sins:
“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27–28
Jesus shows us that even looking at a woman and thinking lustful thoughts is a sin. Simply noticing that someone is attractive is not a sin. My favorite quote related to this is attributed to Martin Luther,
“You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.”
Jesus tells us to take radical steps toward eliminating temptation.
“So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29–30
Jesus was not actually promoting amputation, because your hands or eyes are not what was causes the sin. The HEART is. Yesterday, I heard Rick Warren teach three ways to avoid temptation that are very applicable to this topic.
The best way to win the lust battle is to avoid temptation.
- Media – Scandalous movies, TV Shows, internet sites, and even that friend who posts bathing suit selfies on Facebook & Instagram are to be avoided.
- Tempting People – Most of us have certain people that tempt us more than others. In some situations you still have to interact with these people but don’t make them your best friends or “ministry projects”. It is better to let someone else do that.
- Tempting Environments – Avoid environments where you know it is going to be hard not to see things that will tempt you. If you have a porography problem, I recommend don’t get on the computer or your phone when you are alone in your room. Use that stuff only when others are present.
Refocus, Don’t Resist
Don’t think of a purple elephant. How did you do? If you are in a tempting situation, it’s not helpful to focus on fighting the temptation.
Instead do something/ANYTHING else that will get your attention! Quoting scripture is very helpful. Getting up and going outside or into another room can also be helpful.
When it comes to lust, Flight is better than Fight. Make like Joseph when Potiphar’s wife came after him and RUN!
“Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22
Run, but don’t run alone. We are to enlist a running buddy. Find someone of the same gender to help you in the battle. Find someone who will pray for you, give you grace and still be firm. Get some accountability software for your computer if you need it.
I’ve Got Some Bad News and Some Good News
The bad news is that you won’t be perfect. At the end of this passage Jesus said,
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
The good news is that Jesus lived a perfect life for you. He died in your place, and if you receive him as Savior and Lord, he will forgive all of your sins, INCLUDING LUST. Jesus was perfect so we don’t have to be. As we pursue purity in this area, remember that there is grace for all of us who struggle with this issue.
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