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Defining Lust

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    Defining Lust

    What is sexual lust? Some say it’s letting your eyes go to a woman’s figure. Others might say it’s allowing yourself to not merely notice, but appreciate. Some may say you’re in sin only when you’ve gone to sexual thoughts. Finally, perhaps it’s sin only if you’re desiring someone you can’t rightfully have (coveting)?



    The typical text is Matt 5:28: But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    First, “woman” is γυνη, which is most often translated as “wife.” This seems to be the logical meaning, considering Christ thereafter says “adultery.”

    Second, I don’t want to sound like a lawyer. Clearly, the heart is addressed too; if you look at a single girl you can’t rightfully have and desire to fornicate with her, you’ve coveted; you’ve sinned.

    Third, could this text apply only to coveting? Although the text itself seems laid out that way, I have trouble taking this interpretation, because coveting was already forbidden in the ten commandments! It seems redundant to state it again. So, it seems as though Christ was going beyond this - but I can’t tell for sure. And if He was, how far beyond did He go?
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    1Sa 25:3 The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.

    Gen 39:6 Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance.

    Gen 29:1 Leah's eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.

    Gen 24:16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up.

    Beauty is acknowledged in the Scripture without being condemned. In fact, it seems to approve of it! And not merely pretty faces, but also figures; it seems clear to me that we’re allowed to appreciate a person’s nice figure.
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    Son 8:8 We have a little sister, And she has no breasts. What shall we do for our sister In the day when she is spoken for?

    Even noticing the taboo “breasts” isn’t bad. There’s no condemnation of men who won’t marry her because they notice she’s flat-chested. If breasts are a signal for singles, how can we be expected to ignore them until after we’re married? (Don’t confuse this with my other topic. I’m not addressing the idea of taking our tops off; rather, I’m speaking of clothed breasts.)
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    Song of Solomon as a whole is my strongest argument. It celebrates sex in a very graphic way. Can it be wrong to think about sex, despite the Bible providing us with what amounts to textual porn? (I’m not advocating for video porn, don’t misconstrue me!) In essence, how can we read Song of Solomon and turn our imaginations off? (I’m also not advocating for the idea that it’s okay to fantasize about sex with every woman. Though, I do wonder if it’s okay if that person is someone you can rightfully marry? That’s not coveting. In any case, it’s entirely possible to have sexual fantasies without involving any specific person in them.)
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    Job 31:1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?

    My argument is weak, because it’s based on assumption. But, I assume Job made this covenant in order to help him remain faithful to his wife. And he made it after getting married, thus implying it wasn’t a sin to ‘look upon’ young women before he was married.
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    In addition, the practical question: If we take the idea of lust too severely, then we’ll try to obey it and may lose much of our sexual desire toward a mate. Sexual desire is a holy reason to marry (1Co 7), despite what many gnostic-esque people would say. And if you obey an overly strict interpretation of lust, you won’t notice the girl is sexually appealing and won’t marry her / won’t want to marry her.
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    At least for singles: is it wrong to look at women and more than glance at them? Can we appreciate them the way we'd appreciate the grand canyon?

    How about to look while masturbating, so long as there are no sexual thoughts (This is VERY doable, despite what many say)?

    And what about fantasizing about sex with someone you can rightfully have (not coveting)?

    And please, don't respond with opinion. Give argument and/or text. Your opinion is worth nothing, and neither is mine; we aren't gods. But, our logic and God's word are useful.

    #2
    I just saw this, and it's very interesting for this topic.
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    Does Jesus’ comments about adultery apply to married persons only?


    Technically, the verbiage attributed to Jesus addresses married couples specifically, as would be expected in a normal course of conversation during that time period, but it is almost certainly intended to provoke the consideration of related moral issues – including premarital sex. This is an obvious conclusion given the general treatment in related biblical texts that indicates lust of any sort would be considered an offense against one’s *future* spouse. Further support is derived from the translation of “adultery” itself. There are several words used to denote “adultery” in the Bible. The words used by Jesus actually translate to “foreign” or “strange” as in “not one’s own” which seems to further expand the notion that the rules against adultery apply to non-married persons as well (both men and women).

    Another notable instance involving adultery


    In the book of John, we find the noteworthy scene where the Pharisees brought an adulteress woman to Jesus, telling him that The Law commands them to stone such women. They ask Jesus (using the question as a trap) what should be done. Jesus’ reply is unforgettable: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”



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    Link below. Site has a picture of a woman that will be objectionable to some.
    Adultery and lust (from the Sermon on the Mount) - even secret thoughts and minor actions constitute sin (Matthew 5:27 - 5:30) - Bible Blender
    Comment>

      #3
      I am sure this will be a light conversation! (sarcasm)

      Clearly a line exists as to what is sexual lust but it isn't a one size fits all scenario. What captivates one person may mean nothing to another.

      You asked: And what about fantasizing about sex with someone you can rightfully have (not coveting)?
      This would be wrong to do for one would be fantasizing about fornication which is a sin (Matthew 15:19).
      Comment>

        #4
        Originally posted by Faber View Post
        I am sure this will be a light conversation! (sarcasm)

        Clearly a line exists as to what is sexual lust but it isn't a one size fits all scenario. What captivates one person may mean nothing to another.

        You asked: And what about fantasizing about sex with someone you can rightfully have (not coveting)?
        This would be wrong to do for one would be fantasizing about fornication which is a sin (Matthew 15:19).
        Excellent verse!

        But: not if you're fantasizing about having her within marriage? What say you?
        Comment>

          #5
          If a person is single then the thoughts he/she presently has would be as he/she currently is (single).
          Comment>

            #6
            Originally posted by Faber View Post
            If a person is single then the thoughts he/she presently has would be as he/she currently is (single).
            Yes, that has been my concern with that view. Because, for comparison: if you're married to X but pretending you're not, that doesn't make it okay to fantasize about being married to and having sex with Y.
            Comment>
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