IN THE LAND OF LUST
by Calvin Burrell
While serving as thirtyninth president of the United States,
Jimmy Carter confessed that he had looked on many women with
lust, committing adultery in his heart.
On one hand, Carter knew what His Lord says about this
common failure among men: "Whoever looks at a woman to lust for
her has already committed adultery with her in his heart"
On the other hand, this bornagain, Bible-teaching president
also knew a vow of the righteous Job: "I have made a covenant
with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?" (Job
31:1). Most likely, he had made a similar pledge at least once in
Most of us who set out to follow Jesus may find ourselves
closer to Jimmy's earthy failures than to Job's lofty restraint.
Unchecked, our natural instincts can spiral into various
addictive and oppressive behaviors, like pornography. Let's learn
God created sex and called it good. He created the feminine
figure and gave men eyes to see and admire. He made the masculine
physique and persona, and gave women desire for male
companionship. God created testosterone and said it is not good
for man to be alone. We were engineered as sexual beings, not
just for reproductive purposes but also for enriching our lives.
We live in a sex-saturated society - that's a problem! Our
instincts and interests are easily inflamed and misdirected by a
culture that cares little for Bible standards of decency and
virtue. Alluring sights and sounds are more omnipresent today
than ever, but even job needed to limit his eyes and discipline
his mind - long before the era of photos, computers, and mass
We cannot deny the appearance or appeal of a sexually
charged scene, for then we must either be neutered or go out of
the world. Rather, the lingering look that turns to craving for
what does not belong to us - this is lust.
Given the principle of Jesus, the pledge of Job, and the
experience of Jimmy, what is realistic for us in the matter of
moral purity for our eyes and minds?
Some people may carry false guilt in this matter, and clear
thinking can help free them. The Bible confirms that sexual
desire and passion are normal human traits. Between a man and his
wife, God affirms and blesses the full-bodied expression of love
(Genesis 2:24,25; Proverbs 5:15-19; Song of Solomon; 1
Even beyond matrimony, thoughts with sexual components are
not necessarily sinful thoughts. Since Jesus was tempted in all
points, He must have experienced His own sexuality as a natural
attraction toward the feminine. Never did He entertain this to
the point of sinful lust, however. Thus admiration, appreciation,
and attraction toward a person of the opposite sex are natural in
the human family and may be free of evil intent.
Though the interest we feel in persons of opposite gender
may be innocent enough, too often we cross that border into the
land of lust, as Jesus defined it. Temptation, then, has given
way to sin. The key to victory is preparation before the test.
In this corrupted culture, how can we prepare ourselves to
"see no evil"? A severe analogy that our Lord used can teach us
more. In the next verse after Matthew 5:28, Christ urges us to
ward off lust before it strikes: "If your right eye causes you to
sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable
for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body
to be cast into hell" (v.29). This is not to be understood
literally, for sure but may be applied in many other ways:
* Pluck out porn from your computer with a good filter; cast from
you all lewd and obscene materials; cleanse your home! (Romans
* Amputate sexually charged television and movies; instead,
integrate the spiritually charged Word (2 Timothy 2:22, for
example) to use in times of temptation, as Jesus did.
* Cut clear boundaries; avoid all improper appearances in
* Choose a personal accountability partner who will ask hard
questions that carve away at your use of pornography.
* When your eyes introduce improper thoughts, switch to your
heart and to enlightened prayer. Pray for the object of your
temptation, her spouse and family, her faith.
* For deeper sexual addictions, seek professional spiritual
counsel until the chains are broken (see "Resources" sidebar).
The "pluck out your eye" counsel of Christ does not endorse
self-mutilation but underscores the importance of this topic.
Because the wounds of perversion are too painful and the costs of
pornography too great, Jesus says, in effect, "Do whatever it
takes not to lose this war."
Purity within reach
The most important sexual organ of the body is the mind. We
may struggle with impure thoughts even after cleansing our homes
and computers, but we will never win the heart-war unless we deal
firmly and constantly with external sources that stimulate and
stoke our sinful desires.
When the battle against lust seems endless and the foe
relentless, it will be to our great advantage if we simply
confine it to the smallest possible arena: our thoughts. If the
war is allowed to overflow the mind into our hands and habits,
our reading and viewing, and into our beds, battle casualties
will multiply and victory become ever more distant.
Try this promise: "Somewhere between asexual blindness,
monkish self-denial, and austere seclusion on the one hand and
lewd, lecherous, lascivious, licentious porneia on the other, I
will walk in integrity before the Lord, my wife, and my family."
Or simplify it like job: "I will pledge anew not to look
upon a woman with evil intent."
Can we can do this? We can. It is our personal
responsibility to avoid evil, not to accept it. By faith, we are
free to make this good choice.
If the Spirit finds us in bondage to our lusts, we will turn
to Christ in fresh, fervent repentance and reaffirm His precious
forgiveness. We will choose to seek the help we need until we are
free in Him to reject the obscenity and pornography that enters
our eyes and ears, threatening a sewer of our soul.
Today we vow to walk with the Lord in purity. And we will be
promise keepers. If our eye offends us, we will do whatever it
takes. So help us God.
MORE on PORN
Pornography is a $13.3 billion annual industry in the U.S.,
taking in more than the NFL, NBA, and major league baseball
combined. The porn industry has larger revenues than the top
technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay,
Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix, and EarthLink.
* Every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography and
spending $3,075.64 on it.
* Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is created in the
* There are 4.2 million pornography Web sites.
* 25 percent of search engine requests are for pornography - 68
million per day.
* 100,000 Web sites offer illegal child pornography.
* Average age of first exposure to Internet porn: eleven years.
* Pornography growth in the last five years: 1800 percent.
* Phone sex is a $4.5 billion industry; "sexting" is the new
trend among teens.
Family Safe Media, Senate testimony by Dr.Mary Anne Layden,
Nightline, Crosswalk.com, Home Invasion by Rebecca Hagelin, Dr.
Mark Looser, and Focus on the Family
Not Just a Guy Thing
Do ladies lust? Many admit that they too are tempted by "sexy"
men. Recent stats suggest that a third of visitors to adult Web
sites are women and that one in six women struggle with addiction
to porn (http://familysafemedia.com).
Still, the greater snare for the most women may be as they
"package" or expose themselves in a way that attracts the
improper attention of men.
Jesus' standard in Matthew 5:28 has this corollary for ladies:
"Whoever presents herself with the intent of inciting a man's
lust has committed adultery with him already in her heart."
HABIT OF HOLINESS
Most guys notice a direct relation between increased outdoor
temperatures and exposed female flesh. We know we ought to look
away for purity's sake and may even memorize verses to deal with
the tempting onslaught to our eyes.
Holiness here requires a controlled mind. "Prepare your minds for
action; be self-controlled ... As obedient children, do not
conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
... 'Be holy, because I am holy'" (1 Peter 13-16, NIV). Part of
controlling our minds is in forming certain habits.
To begin a new habit, we need a loathing for our old habits of
lust. If we have no hatred for what God hates, we have no hope of
overcoming. Next, it is vital to make a covenant with our eyes
(Job 31:1). This means that we train our eyes to bounce off
anything that would entice us to lust: checkout counter magazines
or some girl with a low-cut blouse.
A third aid in avoiding lustful behavior involves substituting a
more rewarding adventure. "Flee the evil desires of youth, and
pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who
call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). If God
tells us to flee from something, is He trying to take away our
pleasure, or does He want to prevent us from painful experiences
and a lifetime of regret? This question ought to drive us to our
knees, confessing that His way is the best and only way to live.
When we get to this point, victory is near.
Most are content living in self-created mud huts of sin instead
of the penthouse of holiness. Cultivating God's peace and purity,
however, gives greater satisfaction than the quick fix of illicit
"Freedom Begins Here." This group offers solution to the porn
problem through its Line of resources, including toolkits for
churches and individuals. Each toolkit contains DVD's and
workbooks to help those battling pornography and sexual
addictions (www. freedombeginshere. org).
"Somebody's Daughter: A Journey to Freedom from Pornography."
This DVD/CD multimedia covers the lives of several in ministry
who struggled with and overcame addiction. Study guide curriculum
is available for individuals, counselors, and churches (www.music
From the "Bible Advocate" - June 2009 - a publication of the
Church of God, Seventh Day, Denver, CO. USA
For just about as long as mankind has multiplied, the female has
known that a man's sex drive is (in normal healthy men) VERY
HIGH! Women have then sold themselves in various ways to men in
It is only in this space age world with the science tech
equipment that the lab of science has been able to put into a
figure the amount of sex drive in men compared to women. The
human male has a TEN FOLD high sex drive than does the human
As one woman who was given by mistake the male hormone, said, "I
do not know how men can function. All I could think about all day
Even with only 1/10th of the sex drive of men, women can still
lust in a wrong sexual way, and a lot more women have pronography
problems than most people ever realize. So the above study
applies to women as well as men.