• But What About Lust?


    I am sure some will say, “OK, the Bible doesn’t call masturbation a sin. But what about lust? Is it not an act of lust? Lust would make it sinful.”

    They are right. If masturbation is lust, that would make it sinful. So we need to understand what the Bible says about lust.

    You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:27-30 (NIV)

    One commentator said, “From this passage we learn that such sins are very serious, they happen very easily, and that it is very important to do whatever we can to avoid them.”

    It seems that many Christians agree. But is his assessment correct?

    Bounce Those Eyes!

    Two of the most common misconceptions about lust are that

    1. it is “every man’s problem” and
    2. it is a very easy sin to commit. It can happen whether we intend or not.

    In fact, many men believe it can happen so easily that we must maintain constant vigilance, be repenting continually, and be always “bouncing” our eyes.

    Do not, under any circumstances, let your eyes linger on the cute little butt of the beauty who just bounced by on her morning jog.

    Bounce those eyes!

    Do not take a second peak at the shapely young lady with the bosom hugging top or the delightful bit of cleavage.

    Bounce those eyes!

    Yes, I know you want to catch one more glimpse of the attractive girl at the checkout counter who leaned forward and you caught a peek of her lacy bra.

    Bounce those eyes!


    Bounce those eyes?


    Do you really think
    every time you enjoy the
    view of a pretty lady you are
    committing the sin of lust?

    Do you really think every time you enjoy the view of a pretty lady you are committing the sin of lust? Do you really think God would make some women so delightful to look at, give us such a strong urge to enjoy the view, and then make every second of that experience a mortal sin? Surely there has to be more to the sin of lust than just being a normal healthy sexual man?

    Indeed there is! The scenarios I have just described may lead to lust. They can lead to lust in the same way that a visit to an all-you-can-eat buffet can lead to gluttony. But enjoying a good meal is not gluttony, nor is enjoying a delightful view lust.

    Lust is . . .

    So then, just what does the Bible mean when it condemns lust?

    It definitely means more than we have come to understand.


    To better understand the phrase “looks at a woman lustfully” let us re-examine Matthew 5:27. How is it translated in other versions? That may give us some clarity.

    The NKJV says “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her”, and the NASB reads “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her”. But the clearest translation of this passage is in the ESV,

    “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    The website of the very solid, very conservative Ligonier ministry has an incredibly helpful statement.

    “Of course, we must actually know what lust is if we are to resist it. Lust is not sexual desire in and of itself, for sexual desire is part of God’s good creation and the consummation of it is entirely lawful within marriage (Gen. 2:23–24). Moreover, lust is not the mere recognition of physical attractiveness. The Lord made us to recognize beauty, and Scripture itself speaks, without breaking God’s law, of the beauty and handsomeness of some of the people it describes (Gen. 29:17; 1 Sam. 16:12; 25:3). Instead, lust may be defined as the desire to engage in or enjoy illicit sexual activity.”

    Desire with Intent

    The Hebrew word for ‘lusting after’ (chamad) means a desiring that includes the intention to take and appropriate a property".

    Lust is a form of coveting.

    • It does not mean being sexually stimulated.
    • It does not mean taking a second look.
    • It does not mean feeling desire.
Desire with the Intent to Commit Sexual Sin.

    It means wanting to commit sexual sin with the object of our desire. Lust is, quite simply, desire with intent. Nothing less and nothing more than desire with intent, and most males who think about or enjoy the image of a pretty girl have not the slightest intention of having sex with her. It is just a harmless daydream, or a helpful fantasy.

    Yes, many situations can lead to lust. But believe me, brothers and sisters; it is ok for a man to discretely enjoy the view of scantily clad females on a hot summer day. It is ok to go to the beach and be blessed by the beauty you see. Sure, it is not good to ogle but a discrete peek from time to time does a body good.

    Now, if you look and think, “I want to bang that thing!” then you need to get out of there, find a quiet place and repent. But if your only thought is, “Wow, she is beautiful!” then you are in no danger. Enjoy to your heart’s content.

    And when you are online, or watching a movie with a stimulating scene, or even when satisfying your own desires using nude or sexual images, there is a world of a difference between using an image as an aid to masturbation and wanting to have sex with the person whose image you are enjoying.

    King David and Beautiful Bathsheba

    David and Bathsheba.

    King David stayed home from the battle, looked over his balcony, and saw the beautiful Bathsheba naked in her bath. He, quite naturally, enjoyed the view. He enjoyed the view, and felt desire. And then he enjoyed the view some more.

    Enjoying the view, feeling desire, and even enjoying the view some more were not lust. He was not sinning. Sin began in his heart when he wanted what was not his to have and realized that neither chance or circumstance were keeping him from the object of his lust. He looked and he took.

    If David had channelled his desire in legitimate ways this story would have never entered sacred writ. He could have turned around, gone into the palace and enjoyed the company of any of his wives. Nor would the story have been told had he, stimulated by Bathsheba’s beauty, merely enjoyed the fruit of his own desire and reached down and pleasured himself to orgasm.

    How Do You Know If You Are Lusting?

    If you are angry at someone and only chance or circumstance is keeping that person alive, you are guilty of the murder kind of hate. If you are aflame with desire and only chance or circumstance is keeping you out of that person’s bed, you are guilty of the fornication and adultery kind of lust. Anything less, not so much.


    Psalm 51.
Create in me a clean heart.


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