Monday, December 22, 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

So a bit of blogkeeping: we're in the final stretch here on the deadly sins. I'm going to finish up with the sin of pride before Christmas, and then I plan to do a special post on Christmas Day, which I hope you will check out. Also, I have a Christmas offer for my readers. Thanks to the C.S. Lewis Institute, a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to purchase Mere Christianity at a greatly reduced price. I have now moved a case of Mere Christianity from Virginia to Florida and back. I haven't been giving away Lewis as quickly as I intended, so I would be very honored to mail you a copy if you've never read it. To say that Mere Christianity is a life-transforming, amazing articulation of the Christian faith is a grave injustice. So own your copy today, while supplies last, and Merry Christmas! (email me your address: lewis.offer@yahoo.com)

Now, back to the deadly sins. Lust is hard to write about for two reasons. First, this is the one deadly sin I don't really struggle with (see definition below), and secondly, it's the one I am most inclined to be judgmental about. I wouldn't be so silly as to claim I've never had a lustful thought, but physical attraction for me is a secondary issue. I needed a man that was smart, funny, driven, and disciplined. I needed a man that knew God. I needed a man that would spur me on despite my sloth. So it is just a testament to God's abundant provision that Will Jackson meets all these needs and is sexy to boot!

Many commentators claim that lust is not merely about sex--that it can involve a preoccupation with things in general, but usually those cravings fall under other sins like envy or greed. Not that the classification should be legalistic, but in my opinion, lust primarily revolves around sex. And there's so much to talk about even when we limit lust to its sexual manifestations, that in this posting that's what I'm going to do.

Our culture is obsessed with sex. Would anyone dispute that? But one of the problems with the bombardment of imagery that we face everyday is that it blurs the distinction between loving sex, i.e., sex within marriage between a man and a woman, and lust, i.e., the longings and actions which treats others as objects for sexual pleasure. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. It might be fun. It might pleasurable in the moment, but ultimately it's degrading. Our culture scoffs at this truth, in fact, some readers might scoff at this post. But it's the truth anyway. We might try to merge love and lust. We might cling to the idea that lust leads to love. But it doesn't. Physical attraction is important, but that's not lust. Lust is when you look at another person and think how they could give you pleasure. And this is just not something that I do.

But I know most men seriously struggle with lust. They are visual beings and our culture feeds those eyes of theirs in every way possible. As a wife and mother of three boys this reality gives me a sick and helpless feeling. I've dreaded writing about it, because I don't even like thinking about it.

But refusing to think about it, doesn't make it go away. In fact, acknowledgment and accountability are two things that could help. For those who struggle with internet pornography, I know there are ways to sign up to have your computer tracked. One site that looks good is www.xxxchurch.com, and there are lots of churches that have support groups as well. Like everything else in life, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

One other thing that really bothers me about lust is the defeatism that is often conveyed. Boys may be boys, God may have created males with different drives, and they may be more visual, but Philippians 4:13 is still true. If you know Christ, then you should be telling yourselves, even in the most tempting of situations, that you can overcome lust. Just like me with my slothful inclination, tell yourself that through Christ, "I know I can. I know I can. I know I can."

1 comment:

The Jackson Family said...

We bought Mere Christianity for my Dad for Christmas...so excited about his renewed interest...please pray for him! We miss you guys and hope you are enjoying the season. xoxo, sara