A Lesson on Lust: Part 1

Guest Author: Ben Puthukeril

My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend; That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words. For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, And I saw among the naive, And discerned among the youths A young man lacking sense, Passing through the street near her corner; And he takes the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, In the middle of the night and in the darkness. And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; She is now in the streets, now in the squares, And lurks by every corner. So she seizes him and kisses him And with a brazen face she says to him: “I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. “Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. | Proverbs 7:1-15

Solomon, who was counted as the wisest man to have ever lived, wrote Proverbs 7 as a word of advice to young people to beware the adulterous men/women who can entice you and lead you astray. The irony behind this is that Solomon himself had over 700 wives and 300 concubines who were at his disposal, with whom he had the authority to do as he pleased. Though he knew what was right and wrong, he didn’t take his own advice. He faced the consequences and realized his mistakes only by the end of his life. He actually became subject to many of his wives’ wishes by building them temples for their gods and worshipping their idols. Regardless of this, we can still apply the advice that he gives to our personal lives. If we read Proverbs 7 closely we can see more and more how it relates to us. We may not have a firsthand problem with adultery as Solomon did, but we do struggle as youth with the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh.

The Second Look
Starting from verses 6-9 it clearly describes how the fall begins. In verse 8 it says, “passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house.” A couple years ago I heard an expression that stuck with me: “it’s the second look that kills!” If you think about it, it’s very true. Lust isn’t something that happens instantaneously, it is something that develops in our thoughts and then is put into action. This could be as simple as taking a second glance at a guy/ girl walking by, listening to music with provocative or sexually explicit lyrics, or even watching movies, commercials, or TV shows that trigger those thoughts in our brain. Just by doing any of those things we are passing along where lust resides, making us more vulnerable to fall into temptation. A good reminder against this is Psalms 1:1 which reads,

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

In order to have an effective change in our walk we need to change our playmates and playground!

Don’t Stay Idle
If you notice in verse 9 it says, “in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.” When you consider what goes on at night this makes a little more sense. Most crimes happen during the cover of darkness; lust works in the same way. When the sin is the least visible is when it usually happens. This is a reminder for us not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. If you’ve ever heard the expression “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” this is what it is referring to. We can’t say that we didn’t expect it to happen. We knew ahead of time that when we let thoughts grow in our head, lust comes around. So what do we do to avoid this? Solomon tells us in the first three verses to constantly stay in God’s word. His exact advice is to, “keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Just like we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we have to do the same with our spiritual walk. If we are constantly being sustained through the word and prayer, we make it more difficult for Satan to tempt us. When we go without spending time with the Lord, we are more vulnerable and too weak to resist an attack.

She Thirsty Bruh
In verses 11 and 12 it says that lust is “wily of heart, loud and wayward, her feet do not stay at home, at every corner she lies wait.” If we consider the culture that we are surrounded by, we can attest to this. No matter where we turn, we see and hear things all around us that trigger our thoughts and imaginations. That is the focus of the media, music, and cultural influence as a whole today; it is a tool that Satan uses to bring down believers and cause them to stumble. In a worldly perspective, lust equals money/power because people know that everyone is captivated by it. People have an ambition for attraction – both to look good and pursue others who are. The standard is set based on aesthetics, which is why everywhere we turn we see some form of subliminal media drawing us towards lust. It is constantly trying to pull us in and we need to be aware of that. So the way to avoid being thirsty is to stay hydrated! John 7:37-38 reads,

Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’

So it all comes back to staying in God’s word constantly. As long as we have God’s word hidden in our hearts we won’t sin against him, as the psalmist says in Psalm 119:11.

Don’t Justify It
When being tempted by lust, we do a stupid thing with our minds by justifying why it would be okay. That is what Solomon describes in verses 13-15 when he says, “and with a bold face she says to him, I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.” We may think to ourselves, “Well this is something that everyone struggles with so it’s only expected that I would too.” Or a more common one among Christians today is that it is a natural part of science and the way we are wired causes us to fall to this kind of thing. Don’t be deceived because it is not. God never intended for us to fall to our desires of lust or abuse something that he designed and created in that way. We actually see the reality of the consequences of that in our generation with broken marriages, broken families, unrealistic expectations, inabilities, and even sickness and illnesses. The world and the culture around us may justify this in a hundred different ways, but we should rest in the promises that God has given in his Word rather than relying on what we see around us.

It’s easy to talk about how we can avoid falling into lust, but to actually do it is much more difficult. We only got through verse 15 of Proverbs 7 and Solomon still has much more insight to share from the rest of the chapter on how to overcome lust, but we will get to that in tomorrow’s post. In the mean time I would encourage each of you to remember the four points we covered and put them to practice. Remember: it’s the second look that kills, an idle mind is the devils workshop, stay hydrated in God’s word, and don’t justify it when temptation comes along!

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