In wrapping up this series on the “7 deadly sins,” we’re going to talk about the last two sins on our list: lust and gluttony. Lust and gluttony are twin brothers. Lust is misplaced love and gluttony is misplaced hunger.
A woman struggled to lose weight. She had tried everything — all kinds of diets, exercise, diet pills — but nothing seemed to work. One day she posted a 12″ x 16″ picture of a thin woman in a bikini on her refrigerator door so that whenever she went to the fridge for a snack, she’d be reminded of what she was trying to accomplish. And it worked. In one month, she had lost 10 pounds. Problem is, her husband gained 20 pounds!
Lust: 2 Samuel 11.2-5
Jesus, in his “sermon on the mount” quoted one of the Ten Commandments, “Do not commit adultery.” Jesus took it up a level, and said, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5.27-28).
Tough words. I believe Jesus is telling us that adultery begins long before the physical act, it begins in the mind.
Lust is …
- “Intense sexual desire”
- “Uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire”
- “To have a strong/excessive craving”
In the Workbook, Dunnam & Reisman say …
- “Lust is the distortion of the highest good and purpose of life: love.”
- “Lust is sexual desire apart of commitment and responsibility.”
- “Lust is a deadly preoccupation. Sometimes that preoccupation results in action, sometimes it does not, but always it distorts healthy relationships and endangers promises of faithfulness.”
- “Sexual desire that seeks only self-gratification rather than deep personal communion.” (Dunnam & Reisman)
- $12B dollar industry in US (more than the NFL, NBA and MLB combined); $57B worldwide.
- According to one report, 35 percent of all Internet usage is pornographic
- A Focus on the Family poll in 2003 reported that 47% of the respondents said pornography is a problem in their home.
Getting Help/Protecting Your Home …
www.x3watch.com (free accountability software)
www.covenanteyes.com (accountability software)
www.integrity.com (filtered ISP)
Gluttony: 1 Corinthians 6.12-20
Now, we’re not talking about feasting. Feasting is an integral part of Judaism and Christianity. Even in the Gospels, we see that Jesus spent a lot of time eating and hanging out with friends. But it was all centered on fellowship and community, not just the act of eating.
Gluttony is misplaced hunger. Dunnam and Resiman write, “Gluttony is a solitary act that defeats rather than enhances community.”
A good spiritual response to gluttony is fasting. Read Matthew 6.16-18 and Isaiah 58.6-11. “Fasting is an expression of ‘hunger and thirst’ for spiritual food” (Dunnam & Resiman).
There are different ways to fast from food. I am partial to the Wesley Fast, named for John Wesley’s practice of fasting following the Thursday evening meal till tea time on Friday afternoon (3:00 pm).
Fasting is about remembering (Dunnam & Resiman) …
- what food is all about
- the source of food
- how blessed we are to have it
- those who do not have it
- ‘we do not live by bread alone’
The Good News is that God sent his Son into the world to save men and women from their sins. We do not have to be captive to sin any longer! (Read Romans 6.1-7)
God is interested in the development of our character. And our character development is determined in large part by our willingness to surrender our hearts fully to God!
Following David’s sin with Bathsheba (and subsequent sins), David prayed a courageous prayer of repentance. It’s a great prayer. I especially love verse 10. Let’s make it our prayer today …
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51.10).
For Reflection …
What is your attitude toward food? Is it something you like to enjoy with family and friends? Or do you have an unhealthy craving for food?
In Scripture, Paul wrote, “don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6.19-20) In what ways will you allow these words to change the way you treat your body (especially as it relates to lust and gluttony)?
Lust is arguably the most damaging of the deadly sins. It’s the one that is hardest to discuss. Are you winning your battle with lust? Do you allow your mind to be preoccupied with sinful thoughts? Do you visit inappropriate websites for self-gratification? Do you need help? If so, please talk to someone and visit the sites linked to above for helpful resources.
For Holy Week (this week), I encourage you to prayerful read Psalm 51.