Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:20-22
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. 2 Timothy 2:22
MOST PEOPLE today have grown so comfortable with lustful thoughts and feelings that they don’t even see them as a problem. Your world basically says, “Sex is a natural appetite. So when you feel hungry, feed it!” And you and your Christian friends probably don’t talk much about dealing with lustful thoughts. It’s rather refreshing to discover that the Bible talks a whole lot about it.
Paul says, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust” (2 Timothy 2:22). Lust is any sexual thought or action that might lead you to disobey God’s laws or possibly hurt other people.
But why would a loving God give you the ability to feel such a powerful force as lust and then command you to ditch it –and fast? First, lust isn’t something God gave you. It’s actually taking God’s beautiful gift of sexual love and distorting it. Love is giving-fulfilling and building up the other person. Lust is the opposite. It’s using taking the other person for your own sexual desires.
Second, God tells you to flee because lust is like a thief. It tries to steal your heart away from what God wants to be your first love-himself. When you give in to lust, your feelings toward God fade. You don’t feel his presence as strongly as you did before. And it’s hard to regain that closeness to God as long as you keep excusing your lustful thoughts or actions.
Sexual lust-plotting and planning to have sex outside of marriage-blinds you to God’s purposes for you and binds you like a slave to your own sexual feelings.
When you struggle with lust and give in regularly to temptation, honesty will gradually disappear from your spiritual relationship with God. You might still read your Bible. You might even keep praying or going to church or youth group. But real, genuine honesty in your prayers … or a serious desire to apply God’s Word to your life … or a true sense of worship when you go to church-those things are just plain missing. You are only going through the motions.
When you renew the honesty of your relationship with God, you will start winning the battle with lust. Here’s why that works: Genuinely feeling love for God always leads to wanting to please him. And that always leads to obedience-even though it may be tough. But renewing your relationship with God takes a deliberate decision on your part -a decision to be honest with God in your prayers and to respond obediently to what you discover when you read the Bible.
REFLECT: How are you fanning the flame of your friendship with God?
PRAY: Ask God to help you please him and be honest with him rather than giving in to lust.