Summary: Focuses on the sin of Lust
The Seven Deadly Sins Part 7: Lust
This is the last message in the series “The Seven Deadly Sins” and it covers the sin of Lust. I know for some of you parents this message may embarrass you, but I am also speaking to our teenagers for they need to understand what they are dealing with. For this reason I am asking the younger children for this morning to go out with the Children’s Church because I do not want to feed their imaginations with this message.
Lust is defined as an “inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body; excessive sexual desire.” Though contemporary English uses “lust” only in a negative way, the word originally meant “craving, strong desire” and was considered morally neutral. In the New Testament the meaning of the frequently used Greek word “epithymia” means “any strong desire; pure desire; evil desire for something forbidden; and sexual passion or obsession.” Most frequently in the Bible the term has negative connotations although the Bible does not express disapproval in the natural use of sex within marriage.
Let me say this up front that the virtue that enables us to deal with our lust in our walk with the Lord is self-control. Lust represents a lack of self-control when it comes to bodily pleasures. Self-control and self-mastery prevent this pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation. Legitimate pleasures are controlled in the same way an athlete’s muscles are: achieve maximum efficiency without causing damage. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power or image can be used well, but they often tend to go out of control. Earlier in the series I shared with you that sin creates an inclination to sin more and this is especially true with lust. However, to be fair, there is one good thing about the sin of lust, it cannot persist into eternity. Sins of the flesh tend to burn themselves out over time. After a while, lust becomes a habit and what pleasure it brought diminishes until we wonder what the attraction was. Also keep in mind that this sin, as it relates to sex, actually kicks in overdrive when we enter puberty or decide that there is something that the opposite sex have to offer us (at least for boys). The lust starts out very innocent but if not recognized for what it is, can lead to habits that many take into their adult life. I am not saying that we should not expect our kids to mature naturally both mentally and physically. But, as parents, we should take whatever steps necessary to guide them during this time so that the influences from friends, TV and other external sources does not overshadow the sound wisdom we have learned through the years.
I want to share a very personal story with you in order for you to understand what our children are faced with, if you do not already know. When I was a young boy around the age of 9 or 10, I loved the Sears catalog. My first image of what a woman’s body looked like was found in that catalog. We did not have sex education classes in elementary school as some schools do now so I learned some things from that catalog. One of my favorite TV shows at that time was the “Love Boat” because it gave me a glimpse of what sex was like (or so I thought). It really fed my imagination. I remember once having a girlfriend when I was about 10 years old and I thought holding her hand or maybe every once in a while casually touching her leg was great. I also loved going to Church because you got to hug the cute girls and young ladies. As they developed, the hugs took on more significance. At 10-11 years old, that was as good as it got. But to compare that to what the kids see now on Bay Watch and movies like Roger Rabbit, there is no comparison. If I had those shows growing up, the Sears catalog would not have held my attention. As a matter of fact, as I grew older, the catalog lost its luster because more vivid images were available on TV, in the movies and in magazines. There was no such thing as HBO and all of the graphic displays and images of affection that we now have on regular TV. If you had a TV, you had 4 channels and they were very regulated as to what could be shown on them.
In June of 1975 when I was 14 years old I lost part of my innocence. Now before your imaginations go wild, let me finish because I need you to fully hear what I am telling you. I lost “part” of my innocence, not my virginity. This one incident changed my perception of sex and what my imagination had told me. In June 1975 I saw an X-rated movie. It totally blew my mind. I saw things that a 14-year-old should never have been exposed to. After seeing that movie, nothing on TV or at the movies ever came close to feeding my imagination. My imagination was totally destroyed, but a new lust had been born that I spent years dealing with. After seeing some of those images, I had a strong desire to do some of those things. My innocent lust that comes with puberty and curiosity blossomed into a lust based on what I saw and desired to re-enact. Now that was almost 30 years ago, yet today our kids are exposed to this daily. Today we are feeding sexual images to our kids on a platter. We sell all types of products with sexual images; the music today is cluttered with sexual messages and our TV shows would never have made it to TV back in the 60s. Another complication for us is the Internet. I have firewall software on my laptop and still I receive filthy emails that continue to sneak through. Our kids can access images that exceed what I saw in that X-rated movie. We have come a very long ways from my days of looking at the Sears catalog. With all of the images that are being placed before our kids it is not surprising that they are starting to have sex at a younger and younger age. It is not surprising that “playing house” has taken on a whole new meaning. It is not surprising that a gift that God has given to couples to enjoy upon marrying has been downgraded to an act where emotional/physical ties are a non-requirement. With all of the images that we consistently place before our eyes, it stands to reason that we would call our lust “being able to fully appreciate God’s creation”.