What does the Bible say about lust?
Lust is not a common word in today’s society, and yet, lust is the driving force behind most marketing. Companies want you to lust after their project, or they will somehow use lust – such as a raunchy commercial – to get you to buy their product.
Unfortunately, lust – and not love – is also the driving force in many relationships. Lust reduces people to less than they are. If you lust after someone without loving them, you’re interested in their body, but not their soul. You want gratification, but you don’t want what is best for that person.
Christian quotes about lust
“Love is the great conqueror of lust.” C.S. Lewis
“The desire of love is to give. The desire of lust is to take.”
“Satan can only attack us from the outside in. He may work through the lust and sensations of the body or through the mind and emotion of the soul, for those two belong to the outward man.”Watchman Nee
“God uses lust to impel men to marry, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith. God led me like an old blind goat.” Martin Luther
“The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one’s life to a larger goal.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Lust indulged became habit, and habit unresisted became necessity.” Saint Augustine
“Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering, whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.” C.S. Lewis
“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” Jeremy Taylor
“Lust is the devil’s counterfeit for love. There is nothing more beautiful on earth than a pure love and there is nothing so blighting as lust.” D.L. Moody
“People will use grace to cover their unrestrained lust.”
What is lust according to the Bible?
Lust can carry several meanings. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated as “lust” is chamad, meaning “to desire, take pleasure in, be attracted to, covet.” It’s not always a negative word; for instance, in Genesis 2:9, God created the fruit trees to be attractive (chamad) to the sight and good for food. In Exodus 20:17, chamad is translated as “covet”: you shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s house, wife, oxen, etc. In Proverbs 6:25, a man is warned not to desire an adulteress’s beauty.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for lust is epithumia, which can also carry several meanings: desire, passionate longing for, lust, inordinate desire, impulse. Most of the time in the New Testament, it has a negative meaning – something against which we should fight.
In typical use, the word lust means a strong sexual desire or an intense desire for something – and often the desire is for something we already have plenty of. Besides sexual desire, it can also include an excessive desire for money, power, food, and so on. None of these things are necessarily wrong, but it’s the obsessive desire for them that is the problem.
1. Exodus 20:14-17 (NIV) “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 17 “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.”
2. Matthew 5:27–28 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
3. James 1:14-15 “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
4. Colossians 3:5 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”
5. 1 Corinthians 6:13 “You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
6. Proverbs 6:25-29 “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. 26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? 28 Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? 29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”
7. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.”
Is lust a sin according to the Bible?
Lust can lead to sin, if we don’t keep it under control, but it isn’t always sin. For one thing, there’s normal lust – it’s normal and good for a wife to feel sexual desire for her husband and vice-versa. It’s normal to look at a beautiful table of food and want to eat!
Lust can lead to sin when it’s a desire for the wrong thing – like lust for a woman you’re not married to. Lust can also lead to sin when it is an excessive desire for something – even something good. If you feel like you have to buy everything that pops up in your social media feed, you may be operating in lust. If you have a perfectly good car but become dissatisfied with it when you see your neighbor’s car, you may be operating in lust. If you’re not content to eat just one brownie, but instead eat the whole pan, you’re operating in gluttony – which is a kind of lust.
When we think of lust in the sense of temptation, it is not a sin. The devil tempted Jesus, but Jesus resisted temptation – He did not sin. If we resist temptation, we have not sinned. However, if we play with that lust in our heads, even if we don’t physically indulge, it is a sin. James 1:15 says, “when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin” – in other words, Satan can put that thought in your head, and if you put it out of your head immediately, you have not sinned, but if you indulge that fantasy, you have sinned.
That’s why Jesus said, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)
8. Galatians 5:19-21 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
9. 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
10. 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (ESV) “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
11. 1 Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
12. Romans 8:6 (KJV) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
13. 1 Peter 4:3 (NASB) “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of indecent behavior, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries.”
What is the lust of the eyes?
The Bible tells us, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
What is the lust of the eyes? It means feeling you must have something you see, even if you know it’s wrong or not good for you. For instance, you might be trying to eat healthy, but then you see an ad on TV for a 2000-calorie hamburger and suddenly feel excessive desire for that burger – when eating it would be gluttony (unless you just ran 10 miles). Another example of lust of the eyes is seeing a beautiful woman in a bikini at the beach – and indulging in fantasies about her.
14. 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
15. Exodus 20:17 (KJV) “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
16. Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
17. Proverbs 23:5 (ESV) “When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”
18. Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What is the lust of the flesh?
Basically, the lust of the flesh are things that our body desires – when it’s a desire for something wrong or even an excessive desire for something good (like food). Living in the lust of the flesh means being controlled by your senses, rather than exercising control over your senses. The desires of the flesh are whatever is in opposition to God’s Holy Spirit. “For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another.” (Galatians 5:17)
The “deeds of the flesh” are what happens when we indulge the lust of the flesh. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
Calvin said that the desires of the flesh are: “When worldly men, desiring to live softly and delicately, are intent only on their own convenience.”
19. 1 John 2:15-16 (NLT) “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
20. Ephesians 2:3 “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
21. Psalm 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
22. Romans 8:8 “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
23. Romans 8:7 “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
24. Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
25. Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
What is the pride of life?
The pride of life means feeling self-sufficient, not needing God. It also means an excessive desire for affirmation, high status, and power. It’s anything that appeals to pride and arrogance. It’s when you feel superior to others because of academic or career success, because of material things you own, or because of high popularity. The pride of life means being too proud to acknowledge sin to God and others and seek forgiveness.
26. 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
27. Isaiah 14:12-15 “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”
28. 1 John 2:17 ” And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
29. James 4:16 “As it is, you boast in your proud intentions. All such boasting is evil.”
30. Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
31. Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
32. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.”
33. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
Examples of lust in the Bible
The first example of lust in the Bible is when Eve desired the fruit that God had forbidden. Satan deceived her, telling her she wouldn’t die if she ate it, but instead would become like God.
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
Another example of lust is the famous story of King David’s lust for Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11). But that lust may have been birthed out of laziness – or an excessive desire to just lie around. Verse 1 of this chapter says that David sent Joab and his army to fight the Ammonites but stayed home. Instead of fighting the enemy, he was lying around in bed all day long – verse 2 says he got up from his bed in the evening. And that’s when he looked down and saw his neighbor Bathsheba taking a bath. Although he had plenty of wives and concubines, he stole this woman from her husband, and had him killed.
A third example of lust is Jesus’ disciple Judas – the one who betrayed him. In this case, Judas had an inordinate lust for money. Although Jesus constantly warned His disciples that they could not serve God and money, Judas placed his love of money before his love of Jesus. In John 12, we read the poignant story of how Mary broke the expensive bottle of perfume and lavishly poured it over Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair. Judas was indignant, saying the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
But John pointed out Judas’ true intentions, “Now he said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he kept the money box, he used to steal from what was put into it.” Judas’ love for money made him indifferent to the poor, to Mary’s act of devotion, or even to Jesus’ ministry. He eventually sold His Lord for 30 pieces of silver.
34. Ezekiel 23:17-20 “Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”
35. Genesis 3:6 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
36. 2 Samuel 11:1-5 “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem. 2 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, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
37. John 12:5-6 ““Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
38. Genesis 39:6-12 “So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”
What does the Bible say about lusting after another woman/man that is not your spouse?
39. Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
40. Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”
41. Proverbs 6:23-29 “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and rebukes for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the foreign woman. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For the price of a prostitute reduces one to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for a precious life. Can anyone take fire in his lap and his clothes not be burned? Or can a person walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is the one who goes into his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her will not go unpunished.”
42. Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
43. Matthew 5:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”
44. Job 31:9 “If my heart has been enticed by my neighbor’s wife, or I have lurked at his door.”
The destructive power of lust
Lust means to desire something too much, so that it becomes like an idol. This is what happened to Judas. Money became like an idol to him and forced out his love for God.
Sexual lust objectifies a person – their body is more important than who they are as a person. Lust can bring a couple together, but it can’t keep them together. It’s just a momentary urge. Many young women find themselves heartbroken because all the guy wanted was sex – he didn’t really love her for who she was. He was disinterested in commitment. All he wanted was self-gratification. If she got pregnant, he didn’t want to marry her – just wanted her to get an abortion.
Lust makes a mockery of true love. Real love wants to give, to build the other up, to meet their needs. Lust simply wants to take. Lust is all about self-indulgence, and because of lust, people cheat, lie, and manipulate. Just look at King David’s actions!
45. Romans 1:28-29 “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips.”
46. 2 Samuel 13:1-14 “In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. 2 Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her. 3 Now Amnon had an adviser named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4 He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5 “Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’” 6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.” 7 David sent word to Tamar at the palace: “Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. 9 Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. “Send everyone out of here,” Amnon said. So everyone left him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. 11 But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.” 12 “No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. 13 What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” 14 But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.”
47. 1 Corinthians 5:1 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.”
48. Matthew 15:19-20 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
49. Jude 1:7 “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
50. 1 John 3:4 “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
Consequences of Lust
When a person is ruled by lust – of any kind – that becomes his or her master, and not God. He or she becomes enslaved to that lust – finding it hard to break free. This leads to feelings of shame and self-loathing, isolation, and emptiness.
When a person chooses not to control lust in one area (say sexual sin), they tend to have issues with lust in other areas (food addictions, alcohol or drug abuse, gambling, shopping addiction, smoking, etc.). Unbridled lust leads to breakdown of self-control in general.
A person ruled by lust becomes increasingly self-absorbed, and oblivious to the needs of his or her family. Any spiritual life is shallow – simply going through the motions. Prayers are about asking for things, rather than worship, praise, thanksgiving, or praying for others’ needs.
Lust rots a person’s character, destroying their moral compass. Values become distorted, joy is lost, and families are ruined by lust.
51. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
52. John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”
53. Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
54. Proverbs 18:1″ Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
55. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
56. Psalm 38:3 “There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.”
57. Psalm 32:3 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”
Lust vs love
What’s the difference between lust and love? First, let’s remember that sexual desire is a natural, God-given gift to married couples. It is perfectly healthy for married couples to desire each other, and sexual relations are the ultimate expression of love in a committed marriage.
But many relationships between unmarried couples are driven by lust and not by love. Lust is an overwhelmingly strong sexual attraction to someone. Love makes a deep connection on an emotional level and desires a permanent, committed, trusting relationship, not a fleeting one-night stand or someone simply available for late-night calls
Love involves all aspects of relationship – mental, spiritual, emotional, and romantic. Lust is mainly interested in physical relations and may care less about who the person is they’re lusting after – they don’t really care about their opinions, dreams, goals, and desires.
58. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
59. John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
60. Proverbs 5:19 “A loving doe, a graceful fawn–may her breasts satisfy you always; may you be captivated by her love forever.”
61. 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”
What does the Bible say about overcoming lust?
First and foremost, in your battle against lust, I want to remind you to rest in the love and perfect work of Christ on your behalf. Romans 7:25 reminds us that there is victory in Christ! There is strength and power in realizing that your sins have been atoned for on the cross and that you are deeply loved by God. The blood of Christ washes away our shame and it compels us to fight and live a life pleasing to Him. Trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of sins is the only true way to overcome lust. With that said, please do not take this next paragraph lightly.
It’s time to wage war against lust! Don’t let this sin overtake you and destroy you. Make every effort to remove things in your life that can trigger lust, pornography, and masturbation! Get alone with God in prayer, get to know Him in His Word, set up accountability, be honest, get up and fight! Go to battle and while you’re on the battlefield, rest in the fact that God loves you and He proved it on the cross of Jesus Christ.
62. Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
63. 1 Corinthians 9:27 “I discipline my body and make it my slave.”
64. Galatians 5:16 “So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
65. Colossians 3:5 “Therefore, treat the parts of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”
66. 1 Timothy 6:1 “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”
67. 2 Timothy 2:22 “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
68. 1 Peter 2:11 “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”
How to avoid lust and sexual temptations?
The Bible says to flee – run away from – lust and pursue righteousness. But what are some practical ways to avoid sexual temptations?
First of all, avoid getting into situations where you might find yourself tempted. Keep the door open when you’re in a meeting with someone of the opposite sex. Avoid staying at work late if it’s just you and someone you might be attracted to. Avoid getting emotionally close to someone who isn’t your spouse, because emotional intimacy often leads to sexual intimacy.
Be careful about texting or calling old romantic interests if you’re now married. Use extreme caution with social media and consider your reasons for connecting with people.
Avoid porn – not only does it arouse desires for someone not your spouse, but it also skews the concept of pure marital love. Even if not porn, per se, avoid over-sexualized R-rated movies and TV shows that portray adultery or premarital sex as if it’s okay. Be careful about listening to raunchy music.
If you are married, keep the home fires burning! Make sure you and your spouse are regularly intimate – don’t allow distractions or getting too busy interfere with a satisfying love life.
Avoid hanging around with people who regularly engage in dirty talk and whose moral standards are low. On the contrary, find a Christian friend or two who will hold you accountable if you are struggling with sexual temptation. Pray with that person, and on your own, for strength to resist temptation.
69. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
70. Psalm 119:9 “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”
71. 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”
72. Ephesians 5:3 “But among you, as is proper among the saints, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed.”
73. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 “abstain from every form of evil.”
74. Proverbs 6:27 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?”
75. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
How to fight and control lustful thoughts?
Maintaining control over lust is a battle of the mind.
“For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are in accord with the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6).
Satan can use lustful thoughts to derail you spiritually; however, you can resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Just because a thought pops into your mind doesn’t mean you need to let it stay there. Romans 12:2 says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The best way to fight and control lustful thoughts is to fill your mind with things of God. If you are meditating on God’s Word, praying and praising God, and listening to praise music, it’s going to be hard for those lustful thoughts to creep in.
77. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
78. Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.”
79. Psalm 19:8 “The precepts of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart; the commandments of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
80. Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
81. 2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
Today’s society glamorizes lust and promotes the concept that faithful, married love is boring. Don’t fall for these lies. Rise above the fake culture of lust – it’s nothing but a cheap imitation of authentic love. Sexual lust disregards the heart and mind and selfishly uses the other.
Not only does society – and especially the media – promote sexual lust over married love, but it promotes other lusts, like gluttony or the consuming desire for money or power. Once again, don’t fall for the devil’s lies. Let the Holy Spirit guard and keep your mind focused on Him.
John Calvin, The Gospel According to St. John 11 –21 & the First Epistle of John, in Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, eds. David Torrance and Thomas Torrance, trans. T. H. L. Parker (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), p. 254.