Lust is recognized as an overwhelming desire or sexual craving. Scripture addresses lust in numerous ways. The Old Testament mentions it in the book of Exodus. The Bible says, “Do not commit adultery…Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not cover your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey or anything else your neighbor owns” (Exodus 20:14,17). The New Testament also addresses adultery in the book of Matthew. Jesus says, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Jesus addresses lust directly and emphasizes how the focus is on pleasing oneself. The act generally leads to ungodly actions to fulfill personal desire, often with no regard to the consequences of one’s actions. Lust often impacts marriages, and you must address these toxic behaviors before they destroy your relationship with your spouse. Here are five responses to lust, inspired by Jesus.
Jesus would say lust is like adultery.
Jesus commands us not to commit adultery, but sin always finds a way to disrupt and destroy relationships. Jesus views the lust of a man or woman like infidelity that is already taking place in the heart. That is because lust begins in the heart. This is just like lust taking place in the mind. While many people think that lust isn’t as harmful as adultery, they fail to realize it is a form of it. Adultery can be far more than a physical act. When you lust in the heart for someone who isn’t your partner, you are cheating because it is separating you from your spouse and God. Just because it’s not physical yet doesn’t mean it’s not harmful.
Jesus would say love your spouse unselfishly.
Unselfish love is a term all Christians should be familiar with. While we often hear the term “unconditional love,” unselfish love is just as important. The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” When you lust, it pulls you away from your spouse so that you are only focused on yourself. You must let go of your pride and ego for the sake of your partner and your family. Truly loving your partner isn’t a feeling. It is a practice you are committed to each day.
Jesus would say focus on the emotional and physical needs of your partner.
We are called to love our spouses both physically and emotionally. We often get caught up putting our sexual needs first when our partner’s needs are just as important. Sex is an essential factor in every marriage, and your partner’s needs have to be acknowledged. The Apostle Paul, a faithful follower of Jesus, said that we should not deny sexual pleasure to each other. First Corinthians 7:3-5 says, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” When two people are married, the Bible tells us that they become one flesh. This means they are bonded physically, mentally and emotionally. Sex is one of the gifts from God that isn’t solely for physical and emotional satisfaction but also our happiness. Think about your partner’s needs.
Jesus would say to not immediately consider divorce.
When lust takes over the mind, it’s easy to begin to disconnect from your spouse. When the lust gets especially bad, many people will quickly jump to the idea of divorce. They see it as an escape. This is not the first place your mind should go. Remember, God is love. Our Father in Heaven wholeheartedly believes in the institution of marriage. Jesus’ heart breaks at the thought of lust and divorce separating your marriage. Jesus says, “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” In the New Testament, we are taught that marriage is a lifelong commitment. When lust attacks your marriage, divorce shouldn’t be the first thought in your mind. Indeed, some marriages can’t be saved, it should only be considered the last resort. We must make every effort to uplift our marriages and not allow them to drift. If lust is in your heart, find ways to separate yourself from it. Lust will only continue to break your relationship down.
Jesus would tell you to let Him take the wheel.
Nobody said marriage was easy. Relationships will go through their share of struggles. Marriage naturally has highs and lows. Lust may take your marriage to one of its lowest points. Until you allow Jesus to take the wheel and lead your marriage, there is no way for you to experience God's fullness in it. There will be times when you may put your desires ahead of your spouse, even God. Jesus should always be the foundation that we build our marriages on. If you’re struggling with the sin of lust, tell the enemy it has no place in your marriage.
God has an important plan for your life and your marriage. Our relationships should promote Jesus first. If lust is controlling your heart, it’s time to talk with God. Call on Him each day to help you through this sin. When we put Jesus first, everything will fall into place as it should.