Lust Verses Love From A Biblical Perspective

Most people know the difference between lust and love so what are they? What does the Bible define as love and as lust?

A Definition of Lust

Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body and it can take nearly any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It is an overwhelming self-absorbed desire or craving for an object, person, or experience that might be good but in most cases, is not. For example, a man or a woman can lust after their spouse and since they are legally married, there is no sin in this, however lusting after someone else’s spouse or someone who’s not married is sin so clearly, lust and love aren’t the same at all and in many ways, they are actually opposites of one another for example we can lust after riches, for drugs, for alcohol, and for any number of things that are detrimental to our wellbeing.

A Definition of Love

The way the world defines love and the way that God defines love are not even close to the same thing. As far as the world sees love it is strong and warm affection that someone has for another or others or for something. It could be like that of a parent for a child or a spouse for their mate or it could be a love for reading, eating, drugs, alcohol, or even shopping. Some of these are good and well but others can lead to ruin. Love can certainly be a strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from a kinship or close friendship, which I have for my own spouse and children and grandchildren and even for my friends but from the biblical standpoint, love and lust are no co-equals since one can be good while the other can lead to harm.

But-I-say-to-you-that

A Biblical Definition of Lust

I like what C.S. Lewis wrote many years ago. He wrote “If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart.” This is a very good, biblical definition of lust in the heart. If you covet something or someone, that is lusting in the heart. Exodus 20:17 lists the tenth commandment as “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” so lust is not just about looking at someone of the opposite sex or for some, looking at some with lust of the same sex, it is coveting what you don’t have. It is a passionate desire to have what someone else has.

What Lust Can Lead To

David let his lust carry him away as “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (2nd Sam 11:2) and so he lusted after her in his heart. This led to adultery and later, to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. This is why James wrote that “after desire (or lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:15). The proverbs say “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes” (6:25). Jesus said that it was “out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt 15:19). Solomon understood this connection, writing that as a man “thinks within himself, so he is” (23:7a). You can commit adultery without ever committing the physical act. Jesus said that “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28) and of course the same thing applies to women.

A Biblical Definition of Love

There are so many places that define love in the Bible that it will be hard to select only a few. Paul writes that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1st Cor 13:4-7). The love of God is not about feelings or words but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Love is a verb; it is what you do more than what you say or what you think. We know that Jesus did not feel like taking on all of the sins of humanity but His great love for us on the cross proved what the love of God is like. He died for us while we were still wicked sinners and His enemies (Rom 5:8, 10).

Conclusion

The differences between love and lust are that we don’t covet what we don’t have. We shouldn’t covet (lust after) our neighbor spouse or their goods (Ex 20:17). Love, on the other hand, “does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10) and this means “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19) but above all “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). The difference for believers is that we are told “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). The greatest display of love was not what Jesus felt or what God feels but it was revealed at Calvary. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and that’s just what He did. Lust harms, love sacrifices.

—————-

**By Jack Wellman at what Christians wat to know / Photo by Juan C Palacios at Pexels

The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

————

** Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh at pexels

Learn to Desire the Best for Others

Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.

Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.

When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.

God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.

If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.

It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!

Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.

God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.

————

**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.

The Dream

THE DREAM

“When I, Lori McPherson, first became a Christian, I had a glorious dream that was so real. I was standing on the wayside watching all these people busy preparing for something. They all had their own tasks to do, and it seemed they only had a limited time to prepare. Then I realized it was a wedding, an extravagant wedding fit for a king. I wondered to myself whose wedding it was, and how glorious it would be. Then I saw the bridegroom in all his magnificent splendour, so handsome! And I wondered what lucky bride was going to get this handsome and majestic man. And it’s as if all the people there could read my thoughts, and one of them turned to me puzzled as to why I was querying this and said “you!” I was shocked that I could be seen and heard, and tried to shrink away out of sight. At that moment I was afraid and all these thoughts went through my mind, ‘does he know who I am?’ for I knew I was not worthy of him. ‘Does he know my past?’ because I could tell he was so righteous, just and pure, and I wasn’t. He was way out of my league, and “has there been some mistake?!” all these thoughts crossed my mind because I was dirty, blemished and defiled. But the bridegroom came to me and smiled warmly, it was the Lord Jesus Himself. I couldn’t look at Him, I was ashamed. As He stood there, I could feel His love for me, so kind and accepting. He then held up a large picture frame with a blank white canvas and portrayed to me that this was to be part of the wedding decoration once finished, as before it could be put up, the blank canvas had to be filled with fruit that I had placed on it. This fruit was the fruits of the Spirit, the work I had allowed the Holy Spirit to do in me and through me during my earthly lifetime. This would be like a decoration of honour to Him, a wedding gift.”

**This wonderful dream represented the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19:6-9. In an article by Christianity.com the wedding feast that John referred to in revelation is explained below, which leads up to the Big Day. John saw and heard the multitudes in heaven praising the Lord God at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The wedding feast of the Lamb is the marriage supper which was about to begin. To understand what the marriage supper of the Lamb is, let’s consider the three significant wedding customs in the time of Christ.

Three Major Parts of a Wedding Feast

1. A Marriage Contract. Wedding customs in the time of Christ were signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom. Additionally, this contract was signed by the parents of the bridegroom, and the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry (down payment) to the bride or her parents. Such a process began the betrothal period, which today would be called the engagement. One example of this was the one Joseph and Mary were in when Mary was found to be with baby Jesus in the womb (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5).

2. A Torchlight Parade Through the Streets. The bridegroom accompanied by his male friends went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. Such a parade would not be a surprise to the bride as she knew well in advance such an event was taking place so she would be ready with her maidens. They would then all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom’s home. Such a custom is the basis of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.

3. The Marriage Supper Itself. During the time of Jesus, the marriage supper itself would go on for days as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2. The events described by John in Revelation 19:7-10 describe the third phase of the wedding feast the marriage supper of the Lamb. John isn’t meaning to skip the first two phases of the wedding feast customs but is communicating they already have happened.

The first phase was completed on earth when each individual Christian placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ. The dowry, in this case, was paid by the bridegroom’s parent (God the Father) because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Bride’s behalf. The Church is betrothed to Christ much the same way as the wise virgin in the parable. All Christians should be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8). The second phase picture, when Christ comes to claim His bride and take the Church to the Father’s house. The Marriage Supper follows as the third and final step and is a glorious celebration of all who are in Christ Jesus.

Delight in the Lord and the Final Day

The Christian will one day find their ultimate delight at the time when He consummates all things (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Revelation 19 describes the day where we will become like Jesus. On that day, we will wear the most beautiful wedding gown made up of our righteous deeds (Revelation 19:6-8). As glorified Christians, the people of God will finally fulfil the purpose for which we’ve been created, which is complete, unbroken fellowship with God. Such joy we will experience on that day is beyond description as we will see Christ face-to-face (Revelation 19:9). Every born again, Christian will experience this day because they have been declared righteous in the Lord’s courtroom.

The Lord’s Supper and the Wedding Feast

The Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day is a foretaste of such a day as the Wedding Feast. Every time we eat of the Lord’s Supper, we should long all the more for the day when the feast will never end. Whether or not you are partaking of the Lord’s Supper this Lord’s Day, focus your heart on the great wedding feast with the Lord Jesus.

** Dream by Lori McPherson © Copyright – Lori McPherson. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author / Article by Christianity.com / Photo by Edward Eyer at pexels

——————————

How to be saved: The Path To Salvation

7 Characteristics of the Bride

My personal testimony

What Real Love Looks Like

As a parent, one thing I’ve come to learn is that true love for someone does not mean you give them whatever they want. For example, my children would like to eat donuts every night for dinner. In this situation, my love for them is the very reason that I deny them what they want. When I deny them, they may be tempted to think I don’t love them. But real love desires the person’s long-term good, over giving them what they want all the time.

It’s very helpful to me to remember that God loves me with such a perfect love, that He will deny many of my earthly desires. To someone who doesn’t know God, this may look like God doesn’t care for or love them. But whoever knows God as their loving Father, they will no doubt be thankful for the many prayers and desires He didn’t answer, knowing that when they come into eternity they will look back and say “I’m glad He did things exactly the way He did.”

So if real love for my children doesn’t look like ‘giving them whatever they want’, what does it look like? The Bible – our foundation of truth tells us what real love is and what it looks like. I’d like to list out many practical examples of love the Lord has burdened my heart with, that illustrate the principles of real love as defined by the Bible. This isn’t meant to be a complete exhaustive list, but a list of examples God has put on my heart as practical goals I can have as I try love others, and God better.

CHILDREN

Real love toward my children should look like:

• Asking God for wisdom to raise them (James 1:5)

• Praying for them consistently

• Taking their sin and disobedience very seriously, and not brushing it off

• Carefully disciplining them and rebuking them when it will build them up, not too severely and not too lightly, and never out of anger (Prov 3:11-12, Col 3:21, Heb 12:5-8)

• Teaching them that God loves them and is always with them, so they never have to be scared, and they can talk to Him any time (Heb 13:6)

• Teaching them the Bible, giving them foundational godly wisdom for life and godliness (Prov 4:5)

• Being patient with them (Eph 4:2)

• Not ignoring them

• Spending quality time with them

• Encouraging them (1 Thess 5:11)

• • Not losing my temper and snapping in anger at them (responding verbally or physically in a harsh way that is driven not by desire for their good but anger)

• Playing with them and laughing with them

SPOUSE

Real love toward my wife should look like:

• Praying for and encouraging her (Heb 3:13)

• Plain and simple kindness (Eph 4:32)

• Considering what burdens she’s had throughout the day when I’ve been away at work

• Holding my tongue and keeping quiet when I am tempted to be angry or frustrated (James 1:19)

• Working hard at my job to provide for her what she needs (food, shelter, etc) without getting in to debt and making our family a slave to others outside our home (1 Tim 5:8)

• Being faithful to her – not committing adultery in the heart by looking lustfully at another woman (Matt 5:28)

• Being a servant, sacrificing time and energy to make things easier for her (John 13:12-14)

• Helping with household chores

• Not leaving messes around the house

• Sharing little words that God has spoken to me – ‘salting the conversation’ (Col 4:6) with the things of God, and ‘washing her in the Word’ (Ephesians 5:26)

• Expressing appreciation for her

• Laboring to present her as a spotless bride to Jesus (Ephesians 5:27)

• Rooting for her to grow in the Lord

• Playfully joking with her to make her smile, and to let her know that I enjoy her (Prov 5:18-19)

THE CHURCH

Real love toward my church should look like:

• Being quick and eager to forgive others (Eph 4:32, Prov 19:11, Luke 17:3)

• Encouraging them – letting them know how special to God they are and loved, and how necessary to the church body they are (Heb 3:13)

• Encouraging them to seek for an intimate life with the Lord, desiring that they would be enraptured with Him and not anything else in this life (2 Cor 11:2-3)

• Challenging them to become Christ-like (Heb 6)

• Praying for them in secret (Php 2:3-4, Matt 6:6)

• Not gossiping or speaking negatively about others (Psalm 41:7)

• Doing what I can to help them if I become aware of some need they have (James 2:15-16)

• Thinking of them throughout the week and bearing burdens of others, praying with real meaning for them and pouring my heart out to God (Gal 6:2, Matt 6:7)

• Never comparing myself with anybody in the church (2 Cor 10:12)

• Being real, not a fake hypocrite – “Let love be without hypocrisy” – being open about my own weaknesses and not trying to hide them so people think I’m godly (Rom 12:9), and thereby discouraging them making them think they are ungodly because they still have struggles

• Getting ‘under’ people by serving them and doing things quietly in the background, instead of trying to climb my way above everyone by seeking honor (Php 2:5-8)

• Weeping with those who are going through a hard time, not saying “I’m glad it’s not me” (Rom 12:15)

• Not being envious, but rejoicing with them when something good happens for them, cheering for them

• Exhorting them always to keep pressing into Jesus – to be persistent and consistent, to keep going even when things are tough (Matt 24:13)

• Gently rebuking them when necessary, so they can become aware and repent of their sin (Gal 6:1)

GOD

Real love toward the Lord should look like:

• Seeking Him alone and not His gifts (Psalm 73:25)

• Obedience, both inwardly and outwardly – “For this is love the love of God: that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3)

• Presenting my body as a living sacrifice to Him, and my body parts as His instruments of righteousness (Rom 12:1, Rom 6:13)

• Considering everything else on this earth besides Him as worthless, and living like that (not chasing after money, comfort, success or the pleasure of this world, but only chasing after Christ) – (Php 3:8)

• Laboring to build up His church (not in numbers but in Christ-likeness) “Do you love me? Tend my lambs” (John 21:15-17)

• Seeking for gifts that can build up the church in Christ, and eagerly desiring those gifts not to feel good about myself or significant, but desiring them for the sake of others (1 Cor 14:1-12)

• Being eager to spend time with Him and having a desire to always be in His presence, regardless of wherever I am or whatever I’m doing (1 John 1:7)

• Leaving anything He asks me to give up (even if not sinful) because I always want to be close to Him (Psalm 73:25, 28)

• Going to Him when I am struggling with some issue, and not trying to solve my problems myself without Him (1 Peter 5:6-7)

• Hating sin because it grieves Him (Eph 4:30). Not wanting to hurt the One I love the most

• Not complaining when something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out as I’d have hoped, but surrendering myself to it as God’s will, and praising Him in spite of the outcome (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Being faithful to work hard at doing the mundane day to day tasks, because I’m doing it for Him (1 Cor 10:31, 1 Thess 4:11)

• Seeking eternal life – which is to know Him intimately (John 17:3)

• Cleansing myself because I want to be like Him (1 John 3:2-3) – (by cleansing, not just outwardly but cleansing all the evil that’s inside – things like anger, selfishness, greed, loving money and material things, a gossiping tongue, laziness, lukewarmness toward seeking God)

Up to this point I’ve only tried to illustrate what I believe real human love looks and doesn’t look like. But I’ve also been blessed to meditate on and see in God’s Word what His perfect love for me does and doesn’t look like.

God’s love for me doesn’t look like:

• Answering every prayer and giving me whatever I ask, no matter the consequences (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Withholding all sickness, physical issues, job or family problems

• Withholding every temptation from me (1 Cor 10:13)

• Making me very wealthy (Matt 19:23)

• Giving me only easy relationships (at work, in my family, in the church, etc)

God’s love for me looks like:

• Giving me many precious promises in His Word so I can partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4)

• Justifying me through Christ and now seeing me as righteous, just as if I’ve never sinned (2 Cor 5:21)

• Filling me with His Spirit so I can live in righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit (Romans 14:17)

• Always being with me (Heb 13:5)

• Not just changing my location forever (from Earth to Heaven), but changing what I am forever (2 Cor 5:17)

• Putting boundaries around me that will guide me to seek for Him (Acts 17:26-27)

• Willingness to subject me to hardship for my eternal good (Romans 8:28)

• Willingness to discipline me (Hebrews 12:6)

• Always providing my needs, both physical and spiritual (Luke 12:29-32)

• Always thinking of my eternal good over the temporary earthly gain I could have (Mark 8:36)

• A fervent desire and joy to fellowship with me and be close to me (Zeph 3:17)

• A fervent desire to see me grow in the image of Christ, and working all of my circumstances to achieve this goal (Rom 8:28-29)

And the most special illustration to me of what God’s love for me looks like is:

Not holding back what was most precious to Him – sending His Son to earth to become a man forever, and as a man to die for me so I can have an intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as my loving Father:

John 3:16, John 17:3

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life – And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent

Luke 15:24

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

**By Bobby MacDonald at NCCF Church