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Leaving Lust Behind

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Our Bible text for reflection comes from 1 John 2:15-17. It reads, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the father but of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever." The Bible tells us that we must not lust after the things of this world. This begs the questions,"What is lust? Why is it bad? And how can we overcome it? Reflect with me as we allow the word of God to speak to us. Dear God please lead as I share your Word, to your people, for your glory. Amen.

What is lust? Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28, "You have heard that it was said to those of old,you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." To understand lust we must first understand the human heart. God created our hearts with the ability to have passionate desires. God wanted us to long and desire for Him and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Unfortunately in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fell to Satan's temptation and evil desires became a possibility of our nature. The temptation in the garden was not the sin, as we know even Jesus was tempted but Jesus was sinless. Temptation turns to sin when we allow it to hang around. Eve entertained the Devil's temptation to do something God had forbidden, giving way for an evil desire and its lust.Temptation opens the door to evil desires, walking through the door is lust which is a sin, and sin fully matured leads to death. Lust is the enticement of the heart towards an evil desire.

Why is lust bad? John tells us that if we are lusting after this world the love of God is not in us.That might sound very harsh but it basically means that lust for this world pushes out love for God. Jesus reminded us that we cannot serve two masters. He said,"You will love one and hate the other." Lust for the world is bad because it promises something it can't deliver. It promises fulfillment but instead gives bondage making us a slave to sin. It sends us on a fool's errand searching for something that doesn't exist----true lasting fulfillment OUTSIDE the will of God. All the while it forces us to do this by sacrificing the eternal in exchange for the temporary. The lust of the world starts with the enticement of the heart. In the Bible the Greek word for entice referred to bait and a hook used to drag away. Lust fools you into thinking you are in control, but once you take the bait at the Devil's choosing he drags you away as a slave to sin. 1 John 5:19 says, "we know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under control of the evil one." Lust for the world is bad, very bad. It is a trap that pulls us away from God by enticing us to do our own will, but is unable to make good on its promise, giving bondage instead of fulfillment.

How do we overcome lust? Because of our fallen nature you can say the ability to lust after the world is in our DNA. So everyday, just as we need food for our bodies, we must feed the Holy Spirit within us. While filled with the Holy Spirit we must remember to immediately reject any lustful temptation that enters our hearts. The moment we hesitate it leaves time for us to be enticed and dragged away by sin as Eve was. Romans 13: 14 tells us , "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions for the flesh to fulfill its lust." This means don't give lust any time to settle in your heart or any room to make plans in your mind. For those who have already taken the bait and are feeling the pull from the hooks of sin, you must resist all the more. James 4:7 tells us " Submit yourselves before God, resist the Devil and he will flee."

If you want to leave lust behind, you must allow the Holy Spirit to refresh your heart daily with a passionate desire for righteousness, and renew your mind with the light that is the word of God. This will allow you to recognize that lust is a trap, and enable you to flee immediately without hesitation, stopping you from walking through the door of temptation.

Jesus is coming back and if we desire our hearts to be pulled by His love, we must allow it to be enticed by the pursuit of righteousness and not the lust of this world. God, I thank you for your Word, I pray ears have heard and hearts have been freed, freed to be hooked on your love.
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