|Lust: A Biblical Definition #49
by Joseph Prescia
Webster defines “lust” as “a desire to satisfy the senses.” This word is usually associated with sex. This can not be the biblical definition because God encourages mankind to “be fruitful and multiply”.(1) Satisfying the senses because of one’s sexual drive is a natural desire that God gave us. It’s normal and fulfills part of our need. The scriptures declare that God will supply all our need.(2) Our “need” is as far as God wants us to take it. Beyond “need” lies greed or lust. Therefore, lust starts where need ends or has been fulfilled.
One of the largest profit-making businesses on the Internet is pornography. The looker desires sexual images to satisfy a desire that goes beyond need. God has given mankind all that he needs yet some want even more. Instead of thinking about images of abundance that a loving Father provides or how to help others in need, the porn viewer would rather seek images that satisfy their own selfish mind. Pornography is worship of the body and is therefore idolatry.
Desiring to win the state lottery is greed. This person wishes to have more than enough because they are not satisfied and thankful with what they have. We live in a country that is relatively free, we are able to work at practically any job our heart desires, and have enough left over after spending money on food, clothing, and shelter so that we could spend it on whatever we want. The person who buys lottery tickets loves money. The “love of money”(3) is lust or idolatry for this person.
“Need” includes a personal relationship with God, food, clothing and shelter. Each person’s level of need is individually different but ceases at the level of need. Any desire beyond this like taking illegal mind enhancement drugs, excessive drinking, enlargement of certain body parts, is greed or lust because it goes beyond need. God supplies our need. He gave us certain basic needs that have to be met so that we could rely upon Him to supply it. He is God. He’s creator of the heavens and the earth. He is our maker. Of course he knows what we need. He does not tolerate idolatry though. Once our need is met, all desire above this level is lust. A knowledge of scripture and a personal, intimate relationship with God will clarify what is need and what is lust.
It’s not hard to remember what we are thankful for. It should not take an event like September 11th, 2001 for people to turn to God or to realize we have a generous heavenly Father who supplies all our need. Those who know God from a daily, personal relationship with Him can remember every day what He has done in Christ and that He supplies our every need. We don’t have to go looking elsewhere for satisfaction.
(1) Genesis 1:28
(2) Philippians 4:19
(3) I Timothy 6:10
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