Lust (Greek “epithumia”) – is an intense desire or longing – Webster’s New World Dictionary. It can be used in a good sense (e.g., Phil. 1:23; 1 Thes. 2:17; Lk. 22:15).
In the ethical sense, however, lust is used to express sinful desire – sinful either in being directed toward forbidden objects (e.g., sexual intercourse with someone else’s wife, illicit drugs, etc.), or in being so violent as to overcome self-control, and to engross the mind with earthly, carnal, and perishable things (e.g., doing anything to get money) – Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
Eph. 4:20-24 What had they learned to lay aside (Eph. 4:22)?
Have you laid aside the old self (put off or died to the unconverted life, or the old style of living you had before becoming a Christian) with (controlled by) its lusts/strong desires of deceit (deceitful self-centered desires)?
Why, and how?
What had they learned to do in Eph. 4:23-24?
Have you been renewed in the spirit/attitude of your mind (thinking right so as to see and accept spiritual truths) and put on the new self (i.e., become a Christian controlled by the Holy Spirit), so as not to live the way you used to?
If so, when?
Jas. 1:14 When is each one tempted?
Are you being carried away and enticed (i.e., lured, drawn) by your own lust (i.e., evil desire)?
Did you realize that each time a Christian lusts, it’s because he is drawn by his own evil desires (in most cases)?
How does knowing this affect you?
Jas. 1:15 What are some consequences of lusting?
[“death” – This death is a spiritual death or a spiritual separation from God – The Wycliffe Bible Commentary].
Does knowing the fact that lust is a sin and has its own consequences affect you in anyway?
1 Jn. 2:15-16 What are we told to do?
Are you loving the things of the world (i.e., the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life)?
Do you love getting drunk, over-eating, participating in sexual immorality or illicit drugs?
Or, do you love coveting selfishly possessions, such as clothes, jewelry, cars/trucks, sport equipment, stereos, computers, cell phones, homes, etc. or relationships?
If so, what do you plan to do about it, and why?
1 Jn. 2:17 Why shouldn’t we lust as Christians?
What happens to the one who does the will of God?
[As Christians, we shouldn’t lust because the world and its lusts are temporary/momentary, and it’s, therefore, a poor investment, while the one who does the will of God abides forever (has eternal life with God; has no real ending, unlike the world and its lusts).].
Are you lusting after the world, or are you doing the will of God in order to gain eternal benefits/rewards (1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:10)?
Titus 3:3 How does Paul describe these people’s past lives, as well as his own?
Are you still enslaved to your sinful, lustful desires?
Are you still disobedient and deceived by your own lust?
Are you still living the way you once lived, even though Christ has set you free from bondage (i.e., enslavement) to sin?
Jas. 4:2 What are some other consequences of lusting?
Have you ever envied others (selfish desiring of an advantage that another has, whether it’s a possession, position, or person) because you couldn’t obtain something you lusted for?
What was it?
[Lusting over someone can lead you to fighting, separation, hurt feelings, adultery, or divorce.].
2 Sam. 11:1-5 Though David was already married to other women (1 Sam. 19:27; 25:42-43), what didn’t it prevent him from doing?
What was the outcome or results (2 Sam. 11:4)?
According to this example, does the fact that a person is married exclude (keep) him from lusting?
[If you haven’t controlled sexual lust as a single person, getting married probably won’t help, and in most cases it even gets worse. Sexual lust needs to be dealt with as a single person, and getting married is not a solution for ending lust (as seen in the cases of David and Samson – Judges 14:1-3; 16:1).].
Have you ever thought that by getting married your problem with lust would be solved?
Matt. 5:28; Job 31:9-12 Who has committed adultery in his heart?
Had you realized that to mentally think about having sex (intercourse) with another person other than your spouse is the same as committing the act as far as God is concerned?
What can you do to start viewing people as God’s special creations instead of as sex objects?
1 Pet. 2:11; Rom. 6:12; 1 Pet. 1:14 According to these passages, what are we commanded to do?
Are you diligently obeying these commands?
Do you abstain (i.e., refrain) from fleshly lusts, or do you give in to them?
How do you keep from giving in to them?
Gal. 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus (i.e., Christians) have done what?
Are you crucified to the flesh (dead to enslavement to your sin nature from which we have been set free through Christ’s death) with its passions and desires?
Gal. 5:16; Eph. 5:18 What are we told to do in order to not carry out the desire of the flesh?
Are you allowing God’s Spirit to control you moment by moment, decision by decision in order not to carry out the desires of the flesh?
If not, what do you think you need to do, in order for this to be true in your life?
Rom. 13:14 What are we commanded to do here?
Are you doing this?
If not, what do you plan to do about it, and why?
[“To put on the Lord Jesus Christ” means to be filled/controlled by the Holy Spirit by choosing as an act of your will to make Christ the Ruler of your life.].
[“To make no provision for the flesh” is to not set yourself up, to not make the opportunity available to sin.].
Do you mentally plan ahead as to how you can make it easy for yourself when you want to sin?
[If you have a problem with sexual lust, don’t go near “X” or “R” rated movie theaters or TV programs, magazine racks and video stores that carry sexually-explicit materials, internet sites, strip joints, etc. If you have a problem with over-eating, don’t go to all-you-can-eat restaurants. If it’s alcohol, stay away from bars or parties where you know it will be present.].
Col. 3:5 According to this verse, what are we to consider dead (i.e., no longer enslaved to)?
[“members of our earthly body” – a metonymy, the cause or source is substituted for the effect or product; here, it is what our body member/parts do that is sinful.].
Why (Col. 3:3)?
[“died” – our old non-Christian self died when we became a Christian, 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:3-11].
Are you considering as dead the members of your earthly body (e.g., your eyes, mind, hands, sex organ), so that you’re no longer committing passion/lust (“pathos” – uncontrolled, depraved lust) because, as a Christian, you are no longer a slave to your sinful nature?
[I no longer have to view women as sex objects or act like a dog, wanting to have sex with every female. I no longer have to feel excessive desire for material things or money because of feeling discontent, unhappy, unsuccessful, or insecure.].
Gal. 5:22-23 Are you choosing as an act of your will to apply the fruit of self-control to your desires, thoughts, and actions, so that you won’t lust?
Do you have the self-control to not lust when an attractive girl or guy walks by?
If not, how can a person have self-control, so that he/she won’t lust (Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:18; 1 Jn. 5:14-15; Rom. 12:2; Phil. 2:12)?
Job 31:1 What did Job do, in order to not “gaze at a virgin” (i.e., lust)?
Have you ever made a covenant with your eyes (i.e., as an act of your will, you chose not to look intensely/lustfully at women or men), in order to help you with your lust problem?
Why do you think it’s so important to keep our eyes in check, or be careful what we look at?
Rom. 12:2 What does Paul urge these Roman Christians to do?
Are you being transformed (i.e., totally changed from the inside out) by the renewing (i.e., changing to new or God-like) your mind (i.e., your thoughts, attitudes, values, behaviors, and motives)?
If so, how?
How can a person renew his mind (Psa. 119:11, 15-16)?
Are you doing this so that you can keep your way pure and not lust?
[As Christians it’s very important to reprogram our minds, because what we put into our minds is what we’ll think about, and often, what we will act out.].
Are you diligently watching what goes into your mind (e.g., TV, magazines, movies, music, conversations, websites, etc.), so that you keep you mind pure?
2 Cor. 10:5 Besides destroying/demolishing speculations (i.e., erroneous human opinion; arguments) and every lofty thing (i.e., Judaic self-righteousness and humanistic, philosophic opinions) raised (i.e., that sets itself) up against the knowledge (truth) of God (i.e., the truth of the gospel), what else were they doing?
Are you taking all your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (discarding/rejecting wrong thoughts)?
Do you guard your mind and thoughts, so that when lustful thoughts come in, you can get rid of them immediately, or do you dwell on them? Why?
Examples of how to deal with wrong/sinful thoughts:
- If the thought to call a person a creep comes into your mind, then reject it, and replace it with Eph. 4:29.
- If the thought that you should have been picked to play on the church team rather than so-and-so comes into your mind, then reject it, and replace it with Phil. 2:3.
- If the thought to have sex with someone comes into your mind, reject it, and replace it with 2 Tim. 2:22.
- If the thought to get even with so-and-so comes into your mind, reject it, and replace it with Rom. 12:19.
- If the thought to gossip comes to mind, reject it, and replace it with Prov. 20:19.
Psa. 139:23 What did David ask of God in prayer?
Have you ever prayed to God and asked Him to renew your mind?
When, and why?
2 Tim. 2:22 From what are we commanded to flee?
What are we to do instead?
Are you fleeing from youthful lusts (i.e., from someone or some place, because the situation will be tempting to you)?
Or, do you get deceived by Satan and think that you don’t have a problem with lust or that you can handle it?
Are you pursuing (i.e., striving after) righteousness, faith, love, and peace with godly, spiritual Christians who can help you and encourage you to have victory over lust?
Why, and how?
1 Cor. 7:9 Should a Christian get married because he has a problem with sexual lust?
First of all, most guys have a problem with sexual lust from their teens on. However, if it’s totally out of control (an obsession, probably due to prior involvement with pornography or with having sexual experiences), then it would be better to get married (so as to have a legitimate means of fulfilling those sexual desires) than to be in the continuous sin of burning lust.
The word “burn” in 1 Cor. 7:9 is the Greek word “purousthai” (which is in the present, middle, infinitive form) meaning: “sexual passion” since it’s used as a metaphor (Dr. A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 4, p. 126); “continuance in unsatisfied desire” (Dr. M. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2, p. 772); “glowing with heat emotionally” since it’s used as a metaphor (Drs. Vine, Unger, and White, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, New Tetament, p. 151); “inflamed with lust” (Dr. W. Perschbacher, The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, p. 360, #4448). Being in the continuous present tense, it means “continuous, unsatisfied sexual desire” rather than merely an occasional problem of impure thinking. So, if you merely have a problem with occasional lustful thoughts, don’t feel like this verse is telling you that you have to get married. Why? Because occasional lustful thoughts are far different than what this passage is dealing with (which is a continuous burning with lust all the time, 24-7).
Second, Christians should be able to control their passions since God gave us that ability through the Holy Spirit’s fruit of self-control or discipline (Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Tim. 1:7) and because God told us to (1 Thes. 4:4).
Third, since God has told us to be holy (1 Pet. 1:14-15), to set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2), to dwell on pure things (Phil. 4:8), and to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2), then we should be capable of doing this because God is at work in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13; 4:13).
Fourth, even if a Christian doesn’t have the gift of singleness (that is, not having the desire to get married), he can still choose to remain single for the sake of the kingdom of God, as it states in Matt. 19:12 (in order to more devotedly serve God with less distractions, as marital responsibilities are many and distracting, 1 Cor. 7:32-35).
Fifth, it would be selfish (which is not loving, 1 Cor. 13:5) to get married for the primary reason of simply fulfilling your sexual desires. The woman/wife would merely be being used as a sex object rather than for the biblical reason of being a helper to her husband (Gen. 2:18, 20) in his God-given responsibilities (which is where God intended her to find her fulfillment, if married).
Sixth, nearly all men who are married find that being married has not helped them to refrain from lusting, and for some men, being married has even increased their lusting. So, getting married is not the solution for dealing with lustful thoughts. Instead, being filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), changing your thought-patterns (Rom. 12:2) by dwelling on things that are good, lovely, and pure (Phil. 4:8), and as an act of your will (Phil. 2:12; Col. 3:2) exercising the self-control that the Holy Spirit makes available (Gal. 5:23) are the best ingredients for dealing with lust.
Phil. 4:8 On what are we told to let our minds dwell?
On what do you usually daydream about or meditate?
Do you have sexual fantasies and impure thoughts while you lay in bed alone late at night?
Or, do you think about God, His attributes, or things that are pure, right, lovely… etc.?
True (Greek “alethe”) means actual, true to fact, conforming to reality, factual” (Vine, Unger, and White’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 1170). It means not false and has its norm in God (W. Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Church history; the kind, gracious, corrective words or actions of people toward either you or someone else; people’s experiences or lessons learned that could benefit you morally/spiritually/relationally; people’s words or deeds that could be spiritually motivating to your well being; the Bible; God’s attributes; Christian biographies; conversion testimonies.
Honorable (Greek “semnos”) means a noble seriousness, worthy of reverence (Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2, “Philippians”, p. 110). It means “dignified, serious – in speech and behavior (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Either a sermon on or thinking about on your own, that of reaching the lost with the gospel; God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit and their attributes or works; people’s gracious, kind, or generous acts toward others; Christian people’s sacrificial giving of themselves (their time, talents, treasures) to build up and/or train other Christians; the Bible; the Christian’s purpose in life and priorities; martyrs for the Christian faith; hell, heaven, eternity.
Right (Greek “dikaios”) means “that which is in conformity to God’s standards” (J. Walvoord and R. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “just, fair, that which is in harmony with God’s will and law” (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Situations or circumstances where people either said or did the right thing even though under pressure or tempted to say/do the wrong thing; accomplishing goals or objectives in a legitimate way; solving a problem or counseling a person the way God would want; having the proper attitude/motives for something you will be doing or saying; the Bible; performing some action/decision in a fair or proper way.
Pure (Greek “hagna”) means “wholesome, not mixed with moral impurity” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “not defiled or contaminated, free from fault/sin/evil” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, pp. 903, 175).
- Examples: How you can help someone in need because you love them Christianly; edifying conversations, hymns, or spiritual songs; biblical sermons/speeches; God’s creation or nature scenes; the Bible; cassette tapes on Christian growth; people as God’s wonderful creations; living a holy/obedient life for God; how to act biblically/correctly in different kinds of situations.
Lovely (Greek “prosphile”) means “what promotes peace rather than conflict” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “that which inspires love” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1330). It means “pleasing” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 695).
- Examples: God’s creation or nature; how to increase group morale and/or unity; what you could say to compliment/encourage someone; what someone said/did to comfort or encourage you; saying or doing something nice for someone who dislikes you; how you can reconcile a broken relationship; doing a special act of kindness for a needy person or to someone who’s in full-time Christian work; the Bible; how you can please your spiritual leader or others.
Good repute (Greek “euphema”) means “what is positive and constructive, admirable” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “uttering words of good report or fair-sounding or good reputation” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 953).
- Examples: Good things said about another person; a biblical sermon/talk/seminar; someone’s biblical advice to you or correction of you; the Bible itself; someone’s wise instruction; helpful lessons learned in life shared; Christian biographies or testimonies; witnessing experiences; tips on money management to be a good steward for God; someone’s complimentation of another person.
Excellence (Greek “arete”) means “virtue; good in it” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1312). It means “moral/spiritual excellence; virtue” (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 199)
- Examples: People’s plans to serve God or to obey the Bible; a right decision made; a good deed performed by someone; a speech said that was biblical (i.e., true, loving, etc.); character changes in the lives of Christians; Christ-like traits displayed.
What do you do when a lustful thought comes into your mind?
Do you dwell on it, or do you get rid of it, and replace it with good thoughts?
Is your mind so polluted with immoral thoughts that you live in a fantasy world, lusting after almost every girl you see, wishing to have sexual relations?
If so, what steps do you need to take in order to reprogram your mind, so that you can think purely?
When will you start?