March 11th

Comparing Love and Lust

4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV 

When we compare love and lust, we’ll hopefully see that they are complete opposites.  The world strives to equate lust with love through pornography, television and movies.  God is love (1 John 4:8), so if we have a faulty perception of love, then we’ll likely have a faulty perception of God.   

Let's first consider the following definitions from Webster’s Dictionary:

Lust:
(1) 1a. Pleasure, delight  2. Intense or unbridled sexual desire: lasciviousness 3. a. an intense longing: craving

(2) v  to have an intense desire or need: crave

Love: 
(1)Strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties (2) attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers (4) Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another 

The main difference between lust and love is that love is a selfless concern for another person, where lust is totally self-focused.  Lust is a wholehearted craving and belief in a lie that Satan has crafted.  The lie varies with the situation and the person being tempted.  Lust says, “If you do this thing, you will be satisfied deeply,” when the truth is that doing the thing will only lead to more hunger for whatever is to be consumed.  Lust keeps growing in the person who feeds it.    

Lust is the exact opposite of love.  We can see lust’s opposite nature by applying the 1 Corinthians 13 passage to it: 

In contrast, love is all about serving and giving to others. God gave us the ultimate picture of love when He allowed to His son, Jesus, to be crucified for mankind (John 15:13, John 3:16).  He stood by and watched His own son be tortured to death, while He was capable of stopping it at any time.  He let it go on through Jesus’ death, knowing that His death and resurrection would provide the way for all people to reunite with God.  Such love is mind-boggling, and it is unparalleled by anything in the world.    

God gives us some awesome ways to learn His love.  The Bible says that all love in the world is from God (John 4:8). When a person truly receives Jesus Christ as Lord, God’s awesome love fills his heart. When that love hits an old, crusty heart that has been previously dead to love because of sin, amazing things happen.  We receive the ability to show true love, where there was no love before.  We also receive power to put the lusts that have warred against us to death (1 Peter 2:11).  This power comes from God’s Holy Spirit that dwells in us, empowering us to live a life of love, free from the bondage of lust. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:  “Lord God, please forgive me for the ways I have continued to feed lust in my life: ____________(list them).  I see these now as sin. Please cleanse me and create a clean heart in me, Father.  Lord, I want to learn how to do everything in life out of love.  I want to remove every trace of lust from my heart.  Please teach me how to see things from your perspective…to love people with your love and to hate sin for what it is.  Thank you, Father!  I praise you now and forevermore.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!”