I have lived in one of the most sensual places in the world–Italy. Everywhere you turn there are images, both real and imaginary, to entice the flesh. Lust, defined biblically, is a strong craving often of a sexual desire. In the 29 uses throughout the Bible it is always used in a negative light. In the Old Testament it also carries the notion of idolatrous worship. Of course this is not unique to Italy. It is consistent throughout the world because it is in us.
Leaders seem especially prone to the consequences of this impostor. Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York, lost his job ultimately to lust. Anthony Wiener, the former congressman from New York and current candidate for mayor of New York City, lost his job to lust. President Clinton was brought up impeachment charges ultimately because of lust. It has been no less true of spiritual leaders in recent or past times.
Proverbs 11:6 says, “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.”
Lust left unchecked will destroy us because lust destroys beauty.
Lust is about self gratification, which is counter to a benevolent, all authoritative God. And this is a God who is ultimately beautiful. We literally appreciate beauty because we were created by a beautiful Creator. Lust is our desire for beauty turned inward.
I believe that lust destroys beauty for us in three ways.
1. Lust destroys our ability to appreciate beauty in our Creator. The more we lust after anything the more tarnished God’s beauty will become to us.
2. Lust destroys our ability to appreciate the beauty of creation. It makes sense that if we begin to appreciate God less then certainly we will not appreciate the beauty of creation around as we were meant to.
3. Lust destroys our ability to appreciate the beauty of our wife or future wife. Sexual lust reduces women to mere objects, objects to simply satisfy our own fleshly desires. Somewhere along the line that’s what happened to Spritzer and Wiener. That is what can happen to you and to me.
Lust becomes an idol. Idols have to be torn down. But the ultimate solution to lust is the beauty of Christ Himself. Until Christ becomes more beautiful to us we will always seek something less to satisfy our craving for beauty. The problem is that craving will take us somewhere that will destroy all that we were intended to enjoy.
Romans 1:24-25 states, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”