“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The title no doubt has you concerned. I would've scoffed at the idea that my Jesus would have anything to do with that filthy sin not too long ago too! But I think if you read further I will be able to not only prove my case, but help foster lust within each and every one of you out there!
I posted a meme this afternoon, if you’re reading this, you’ve seen it. I said Jesus never told us not to lust. Immediately I got responses pertaining to Matthew 5:27-28. It’s quoted above. But I want to dig into it, because before God gave me this revelation, I was in the same boat as most of you.
It seems pretty cut and dry right? Well, here is where speaking english is definitely to our disadvantage. When studying the bible (which I am no expert mind you) I have found that it is extremely important to know 3 things.
#1 Who is the audience?
#2 Who is the speaker?
#3 What is the context?
Looking at Matthew 5 we see that the audience is the crowd ready to hear the Sermon on the Mount, where the speaker, Jesus, gives the crowd the beatitudes. But then the audience shifts. Suddenly we are transported into a private conversation between Jesus and the disciples. All of His audience, both the crowd and the disciples are Jewish. The law that He is talking about, only applies to them! Every “Thou shalt not..” was written to the Jewish race and has absolutely no bearing on the life of a believer. Anyways, He tells them that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He tells them that He is here to fulfill the law.
Then He starts going through the law, first talking about murder.
21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."
Seems pretty harsh right? Well here is where you would have a problem with my meme and even the title of this blog. He then address adultery.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30“If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell."
Here is where we are taught that even looking at a woman could mark you as an adulterer. But what is Jesus saying here? I did a little word study on our english word “Lust” The english dictionary has several definitions for the word.
1. very strong sexual desire.
"he knew that his lust for her had returned"
synonyms: sexual desire, sexual appetite, sexual longing, ardor, desire, passion;
2. a passionate desire for something.
"a lust for power"
greed, desire, craving, covetousness, eagerness, avidity, cupidity,longing, yearning, hunger, thirst, appetite, hankering
I have always heard lust as a sexual term. I think most of us would agree that it’s main use would be negative sexual. But the second definition says “a passionate desire for something” That doesn’t seem all sexual to me. Ok there you have our word for lust and its definitions. Is this the word Jesus used?
I went through and found every time the new testament used the word lust. It was used 14 times in 13 verses.
As I did this word study, I found that every time the english word for lust was used, it was a different Greek word. But more than just reading them, I found that every time the word was used, it was followed by a specific description. For example, in 1 John 2:17, "and the world passeth away, and the lust thereof.” The lust of what? The world! Then you have James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
James didn’t say “drawn away in lust”, he said “his own lust”. Paul in Galatians didn’t say “Walk in the Spirit and you will not lust” He said, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
These different words were translated to a single word that has extreme negative connotations attached to it! The word Jesus used in Matthew 5:28 means to set your heart upon or desire. Is that a negative feeling or action? The problem is not the action or feeling, the problem is WHAT that feeling is toward! The hearers of Jesus and Paul’s time knew these words and what they meant. They knew their uses and they were probably normal behaviors and thoughts.
The word use in Galatians means to long for something. If lust is not to be any part of a believers life, why did he have to add “of the flesh”? Because there is always an opposite! As believers, as ones with the Spirit alive in us, we don’t “lust” after the things of the flesh, we lust after the things of the Spirit! Should we strongly desire the things of the Spirit? I do on a daily basis now!
I will even take it to the next level. The only reason Jesus came to earth and died for the sin of humanity is because of His absolute lust for mankind! He lusted after a relationship with us and would stop at nothing to make that a reality! Jesus was here because of lust! Jesus lusts after each and every human being on this planet; past, present, and future!
Jesus' lust drove Him to the cross!
I believe that we have so demonized lust, that it has been disarmed even from a righteous standpoint. I believe we are to lust after the things of Christ. We are to lust after the souls of humanity just as He did! Not focusing on the things of this world, “the lust of the flesh”, but to lust after the things of the Spirit!
Jesus was never against lust! He was merely speaking against the misuse of it!
Lust, just like everything in this world, is a perfectly normal feeling and emotion. Where that lust is directed is the issue. Living free in Christ means I live every day with the lust of the Spirit. I want nothing more than to understand the things of Christ. So go! Lust! Lust to your hearts content! If that moment can ever come.
I am married to the most beautiful woman on the face of this planet, Ashley, and have had the privilege of having a daughter, Haniah. I love them with all that I am!
Connect with Me