Jesus Talks About Lust

David Bast

READ : Matthew 5:27-30

The seventh commandment deals with sexual sin. Just in case I might be thinking that if I have avoided being physically unfaithful to my wife, then I’m on the right side of the ledger with respect to this commandment, Jesus goes deeper once again. “You may think you can avoid adultery by defining it narrowly,” he says, “but I’m telling you that you commit a kind of adultery every time you indulge in lust.”

So what are we to do? Here is yet another commandment we discover ourselves breaking inwardly all the time. We can cry out for mercy, certainly. Jesus shows us a practical response as well.

Verses 29 and 30 are dramatic figures of speech, deliberately exaggerated. Jesus is not recommending that we mutilate ourselves. What he means here is that we must fight inwardly to control ourselves. We have to be utterly ruthless about it. The principle here is that just as the roots of sin are internal, rising from our fantasies and desires, so the roots of self- control must be as well. We must discipline our eyes, ears, hands and feet the things we look at, the places we go. Our struggles with sin will not be ended all at once, but with God’s help they will end progressively in victory.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help me to be pure, both within and without. In your name. Amen.