Battling With Lust

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In our recent Bible study, we discussed the issue of sexual sin and the challenges faced by both men and women. This topic is particularly relevant for many young believers. We discussed how even our thoughts can lead us to commit serious sins. Drawing from the Gospel of Matthew, we focused on Jesus’ teachings on this sensitive yet crucial subject. Specifically, we concentrated on Matthew 5:27-30, where Jesus addresses the issue of adultery and the broader implications of lust. Jesus challenges us to consider the weight of our thoughts, especially those involving lust – a deep, strong, and uncontrollable desire. He expanded the commandment against adultery to include even lustful thoughts, emphasizing the seriousness of lust leading one to hell.

Believers are thus challenged to address not just their actions but also their internal desires. We reflected on real-life examples from the Bible, such as King David’s sin with Bathsheba, to illustrate the consequences of unchecked desires. We discussed the importance of Jesus’ emphasis on inner purity, the significance of controlling one’s thoughts and desires, and the practical steps to avoid sin. As believers, we should strive to align our lives with the teachings of Jesus and pursue purity in an increasingly sexualized world. Our conversation also focused on practical advice for maintaining purity, the role of self-discipline, and the importance of being led by the Spirit to overcome the temptations of the flesh. This is not just a discussion; it’s a strong appeal to believers to passionately pursue righteousness, exercise self-discipline, and unwaveringly uphold the sanctity of marriage.

Matthew 5:27-28 (NKJV) 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We examine the historical context of the Old Testament commandments mentioned by Jesus. Jesus starts by referring to the Old Testament commandment (see Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18), “You shall not commit adultery,” familiar to His Jewish audience. However, He goes further, stating that even lusting after a woman is equivalent to committing adultery in one’s heart. This teaching emphasizes the importance of inner purity, highlighting that sin often starts in the heart and mind before being expressed in actions. Jesus expands the commandment against adultery to encompass lustful thoughts, underscoring the significance of controlling one’s thoughts.

Matthew 5:29-30 (NKJV) 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

One of the key points discussed in the Bible study is the powerful role our senses play in leading us into sin. Our eyes, in particular, can be gateways to sinful thoughts. Drawing parallels from the Old Testament, we delve into the story of David and Bathsheba from 2 Samuel 11:2-5 as a heartbreaking example to illustrate how sin begins in the heart and mind before manifesting in actions. David’s initial sin of a lustful gaze led to a series of sinful actions, culminating in adultery, deceit, and murder. This narrative underscores the destructive potential of not guarding our senses. This biblical narrative serves as a cautionary account of the dangers of allowing lustful thoughts to take root.

Jesus’ advice to “pluck out” the offending eye or “cut off” the offending hand is not meant to be taken literally. Instead, it should be understood as a metaphor for the extreme measures we should take to avoid sin. This could involve avoiding specific places, people, or types of media that may provoke lustful thoughts. We need to be vigilant about our desires and take proactive steps to avoid sin, even if it means making significant sacrifices.

During our bible study discussion, we talked about how both men and women can influence each other through their actions and appearance, potentially evoking feelings of lust. As members of a church, we all have a responsibility to maintain modesty in appearance and avoid certain actions that could lead others into temptation. This includes practical advice on dressing and behaving to show respect for oneself and others, so fellow believers can avoid stumbling. Self-control is highlighted as a crucial aspect of living a life of sexual purity. Marriage can play a role in safeguarding against temptation and lust. The Apostle Paul encourages marriage as a means for those who are burning with sexual passion.

The discussion explored the broader implications of freedom in Christ, emphasizing that believers are called to pursue righteousness and live above sin. Genuine love for Christ and appreciation for His sacrifice are seen as motivating factors for living a life of righteousness and purity.

The struggle between the flesh and the spirit was a key topic of discussion. Believers are encouraged to make conscious choices that align with their spiritual and moral values. The Bible study also emphasized the role of the Holy Spirit in helping us overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. It is through the Spirit’s guidance and strength that we can resist the temptations of the flesh and live in accordance with God’s word. The process of sanctification—being made holy—is ongoing and requires our active participation in seeking God’s help and immersing ourselves in His Word. Practical advice such as engaging in regular Bible study, avoiding tempting situations, and practicing modesty and self-control was offered. Prayer was emphasized as a vital tool in seeking divine assistance to overcome sexual sins and temptations.

In summary, the struggle against sexual sin involves both external and internal factors. It is important to recognize the gravity of sexual sin and to remain watchful in our spiritual journey. By embracing the teachings of Jesus and incorporating them into our lives, we can endeavor to live with purity and integrity, honouring God through our thoughts and actions. Believers are encouraged to take proactive measures such as renewing their minds with the word of God, controlling their desires, practicing modesty, and seeking divine assistance through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Link: https://wisdomgrace.buzzsprout.com/1399666/15249749-bible-discuss-battling-with-lust

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