Why LUST or SEX isn’t LOVE:

February 9, 2010

An honest guy’s perspective.

“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well…Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth…May you ever be captivated by her love.” Proverbs 5:15-19

Malachi 4:2, Isaiah 53, Matthew 5.29-30, Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 12:12-13, James 1:14-15

Malachi 4:2, Isaiah 53, Matthew 5.29-30, Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 12:12-13, James 1:14-15 PLR '99

The issue of lust is rarely dealt with frankly. I’m just a young guy learning how to overcome sin myself; this is my attempt to expose lust—to bring it into the light so we can get a clear shot at it and kill it. As one who’s found himself starting on the “downward path to death” (Proverbs 5:5), this is a warning for others on that path to turn back.

Love or Consumption? 1 Corinthians 13 gives us a clear understanding of God’s idea of love. It’s easy to see how twisted the world’s idea of love is in comparison. I’ve found no better description of worldly love at its worst than by C.S. Lewis in the preface of his second edition of The Screwtape Letters. Lewis describes the demonic counterfeit of love like this: “Even in human life we have seen the passion to dominate, almost to digest, one’s fellow; to make his whole intellectual and emotional life merely an extension of one’s own—to hate one’s hatreds and resent one’s grievances and indulge one’s egoism through him as well as through one’s self. His own little store of passion must of course be suppressed to make room for ours. If he resists this suppression he is being very selfish. On Earth this desire is often called ‘love.’ In Hell I feign that they recognize it as hunger.”

2 Samuel 13 provides an example of this hunger. David’s son Ammon had fallen in love with his half-sister Tamar. Scripture says, “Ammon was so tormented that he became ill with love for his half sister” (v.2). When he approached her for sex, Tamar was willing even to marry him. Yet he was so consumed by his own desires that he raped her and then despised her and left her disgraced. Ammon was supposedly in love with her. Isn’t this typical of the pattern we find in the world? Some men will do anything, risk anything, and degrade themselves in any way for sex. These men disrespect women and care little, if any, for the individual they join their souls with. The act of sex is the most intense tying together of souls; that is why the Apostle Paul warns that in joining your body with a prostitute you become one flesh with her (1 Corinthians 6:16). This is the same principle that Jesus spoke of when he said that a man commits adultery when he looks lustfully at another woman. There is a literal exchange of their souls.

Who is Your god? The sinful aspects of lust go far beyond the devastating effects of tying your soul to numerous partners. Lust is idol worship. Paul Vitz, a psychologist from New York University, states, “Idols are needs and desires that we have begun to worship” (“The cult of self” Cornerstone Magazine 23,105/1995). Within the context of marriage, sex is a legitimate need and a healthy desire, but outside of marriage we must practice the fruit of self-control. Whether you are sexually active outside of marriage or you watch through a screen or magazine pages, you are bowing down to sex. It is spiritual adultery against Jesus, and it is demonic. In his seminar, “Lust and Spiritual Warfare,” Nick Marica of KEV Ministries states: “Illicit sexual contact opens up the gateway to satanic oppression…There are three separate instances [in Proverbs 5, 6, and 7] where God discusses the creation of a path leading to hell…Note the symbolism of the adulteress as a demon. In addition, note how God discusses her house—as a principality. These references are more that symbolic; the conclusion: you have opened a physical, mental gateway to actual demonic oppression in your own house.”

If sex is your god, the desire to own and dominate someone will consume you. Eventually, the object of your lust will become less important than experiencing the act of pleasure again. Some, like Ammon, resort to rape. Some begin to hunt women down for one night stands, looking for a challenge to conquer. Look at King David. He had wives and an abundance of concubines. He could have had any virgin in Israel, but Bathsheba was a challenge for him and he committed adultery with her and then had her husband killed to cover up the resulting pregnancy. Some men resort to hiring prostitutes.

Others who worship sex attempt to satisfy themselves with self-gratification. In high school, before I was a Christian, I discussed my desires to lose my virginity to a Christian friend. He quickly exhorted me to go home and gratify those desires by myself. Better to do that, he reasoned, than to lose the virginity I had. The truth is self-gratification does not quell the desires of lust, as some believe. It is only fuel for the fire. Whether through fantasy, video, or still images, it only keeps your mind on sex and increases your curiosity. It leaves you more empty, more lonely, and depressed. In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus instructs us that a man can commit adultery with a lustful eye. Then he exhorts us that it is better to gouge out our eye or cut off our hand if it causes us to sin than risk going to Hell. He was politely, but very strongly, encouraging us to practice self-control and keep our hands doing something productive rather than destructive to our souls.

I believe lust led to the downfall of Israel. Do you think worshipping other gods would have been half as tempting if it didn’t involve temple prostitution? “Sorry honey, you know I luv ya, but she’s part of the requirement. Besides, I’m doing this for us! We need better crops this year.” Yeah, right. Look at David’s son, Solomon. 1 Kings 11 tells us that King Solomon loved many foreign women from the nations with whom the Lord had forbidden the Israelites to intermarry. “’Because,’ God said, ‘they will entice you to serve their gods’…But Solomon was devoted to them and loved them dearly…his wives turned his heart to follow other gods, and he did not remain wholly loyal to the LORD his God as his father David had been” (v.2,4).

It is significant that David’s grandmother was Ruth the Moabite. Although Ruth herself was a righteous woman, throughout the Old Testament the nation of Moab was notorious for its sexual sins. David’s, Ammon’s, and Solomon’s struggles with lust were quite possibly the result of generational curses. If you are not the only one who is prone to lust in your family, you should research this subject (Derek Prince’s book, Blessing or Curse, is a great place to start).

Sex: The Real Thing. Let’s remember: God created sex. Why settle for a cheap imitation when you can have the real thing? Within the marriage covenant, each partner’s body is a gift for each other, free for exploration in mutual agreement. Think of Christmas. It’s always great to open your presents on Christmas morning during the festivities. But if you already know what you are receiving, it’s not nearly as exciting. How would that make your gift feel if your gift was your spouse?

If you go into marriage already experienced, or even just well researched, you may be faced with unmet expectations if you are not repentant, healed, and free of those experiences, and that is obviously unfair to your partner. At the very least, you have both missed out on some fun that should have been reserved for just the two of you. I’ve seen couples who have done it the right way. They have an amazing sense of unity—a bond of spiritual and romantic love that you can almost physically see. And I’m not talking about being mushy and annoying in public. I’ve also seen couples who didn’t get off to that great of a start, but worked out their salvation together through repentance and love, and they reached that same place of unity. Still, wouldn’t it be better to be able to have a strong level of trust right from the beginning?

If you are involved in sexual sin, it probably won’t be an easy road to freedom, and you will likely stumble from time to time. But Christ died not only to offer us complete forgiveness, but also total freedom from sin. Don’t underestimate his mercy. There are no formulas for overcoming lust or any other sin. However, keep fighting, keep drawing near to God—through worship, through the Word, and through prayer. Do what every Christian should be doing: cultivating a life led by the Holy Spirit. Jesus admonishes his disciples in John 6:63: “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh can achieve nothing; the words I have spoken to you are both spirit and life.” Listen to Jesus. Follow Jesus. Every day.

Peter L Richardson
March/April 1999

Originally published in Red Magazine, Volume 3, Number 1, March/April 1999.

 

“Patience”

She talks go
But when I go
Red lights flash ahead.
Somehow…
I prefer to stop.
Fire burns red.
My flesh burns for you.

No.
Far better
In me
A white fire
Of the core.
Purify…
Soul consuming.

Peter L Richardson
3/31/94

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5 Responses to “Why LUST or SEX isn’t LOVE:”

  1. Brandoly Says:

    Hi…

    Your piece is interesting and I probably need to read it again. I have been on a quest to understand this thing called love. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your writing. Have you heard of IHOP in Kansas City? Allen Hood has a great message on the mercy of God. I can’t remember the name of it, but if I do I will post it for you. It might just be called The Mercy of God. Anyway, I’m sure if you searched their teachings site you would find it. Feel free to read my blog, too. I’ve only just started it and there is one posting, but who knows, you might like it: brandolyn.blogspot.com. Thanks for sharing!

  2. peterrock12 Says:

    Thanks, Brandolyn. I enjoyed your blog. Your writing is very poetic. Feel free to send me the link to the teachings, and I will check them out when I get time. I’m all about God’s mercy. Just remember that God is the source of all love, even the sappy romantic kind!

    • Brandolyn Says:

      Peter,

      I just re-read your blog and I am nearly in tears. The scripture of Ammon and Tamar is of particular interest to me, and re-reading your eloquent argument brings up so many emotions! Thank you for sharing this. I wrote a note on Facebook that will forward to you. One of my passions is for women to be healed from sexual sin of others. As a woman who survived incest as a child, I am passionate about seeing people set free from lust. So, thanks so much for your in-depth look at this issue through scripture. I will pass it along and refer to it often.

      Here is the link to Allen Hood’s message: http://www.ihop.org/Store/Products/1000011729/All_Products/IHOP_KC_Authors/Allen_Hood/The_Transforming_Power.aspx

      Let me just say it is amazing! Totally worth the $10. I have it on MP3 and I listen to it a couple times a year. I’ll also send you that note on Facebook.

  3. A. Sinner Says:

    Wow, thank you so much for writing about this. You have no idea how helpful this is. I was doing a google search for another peter l. richardson and came across your blog and most importantly at this entry. I can’t tell you enough how bad i needed to hear this, today. I am a married man and i still struggle with lust, thought that would end when i got married, but…nah. I really needed to read these verses. Thank you thank you!

  4. peterrock12 Says:

    Thank you for responding. Looks like God was in the midst of your search! In the years since I originally wrote this, I’ve come to the conclusion that–at least in this life–lust can’t be fully conquered, but it’s like taming a wild beast. You can keep it down and be the master of it, but you can never let your guard down, or it might come up to bite you or even kill you. The good thing is, Jesus forgives and saves us! God Bless!


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