“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
(Matthew 5:27-30 ESV)
"Look, but don't touch."
This seems to be the common suggestion given these days as a way to handle lust. If you can pull this off, it supposedly demonstrates a heightened ability of self-control. You hear it all the time; "I love my wife, but it doesn't hurt to look every now and again". As long as you don't "sample the merchandise", you're golden. The ladies aren't exempt from this either. But, what is even sadder is when I hear a married woman say something to the effect of how she doesn't mind if here husband looks - as long as he doesn't cheat - because he's gonna look anyway. The only thought that runs through my mind when I hear someone say that is, "you're lying". This is the answer you get because they've just settled for having someone there, but not really having their heart. This begs the question: Is it really worth having at all? Should we not expect a higher standard of the person who has vowed to spend the rest of our lives with? And if you're single, there's no magic switch for turning off the emotions of lust. While, indeed, you have more liberty in your life than say one who is in a marraige, that liberty cannot be abused. Making a habit of lusting will become just that - a habit. If you continue to give way to it, you will reap its harvest. It won't just go away even after you've entered into marraige because you've made a career out of not being faithful with your eyes (and now the heart wants to follow).
As we have seen from the Scriptures, looking is adultery, which makes it grounds for divorce (Matt. 5:31-32). To make lame excuses for looking in a society where we are bombarded with images and words that seek to do nothing but provoke our lustful desires, we must remember that the bond between a man and woman is as much spiritual as it is physical. So, the best way to combat this is not to resolve to use mere behavior modification tactics to curb destructive and corrosive behavior. After all, an alcoholic is still an alcoholic even if he's trapped on a desert island with no where for miles to buy a beer. Christ gives us the gory anlogy of ripping and tearing off limbs and body parts (not to be taken literally, of course) in Matt. 5:29-30 of our passage. The point of the gruesome imagery is this: TRUE LOVE CARRIES WITH IT A VISCERAL HOSTILITY TOWARDS ALL IMPOSTERS.
In other words, if we are truly compelled by the love of Christ, then we will listen to his words. And in turn this will carry over into a steadfast vigilance and zeal for our significant others (Song of Solomon 8:6). If you are in a commited relationship, you shouldn't get all geeked up off of the fact someone else is trying to make a move on you or is consistent in their blatant disregard for that bond. It should make you angry. Mind you, I'm not telling you to drill someone in the face for making a pass at you, but you should say or do something. Because if you don't take the proper measures, the second you begin to mildly entertain any sort "flirting", you've already stepped into the realm of marital unfaithfulness. The true enemy in adultery is my "inner-me". So all vigilance first and foremost must be turned on the fleshly desire to give in to temptation to throw discernment and caution to the wind.
Here's an illustration--
Say you and your wife have an argument. Okay, sure. It happens. But, let's say also that while you and your wife are having issues, a young attractive female at work (who you already know has a "thing" for you) becomes your sounding board. She becomes your encourager. Now, the next time you get into it with your wife, the first thing you think is, "I bet ___ from work would never think that way about me...". And there you are on a downward spiral toward infidelity and spiritual destruction -- all because you failed to (as Steven Lawson would put it) hear the hiss of the serpent in the statement.
For us to understand these principles clearly, our minds and hearts must be renewed from this fallen world. We must take every thought captive to the Word until it is brought under submission to it. There is not a soul with a half a bit of sanity who thinks that they can go knocking on Potiphar's door (cf. Genesis 39) and expect to make an escape from the snare the awaits them. Lust is a drowning machine; the deeper you wade into the current, the more it pulls you under. Lust is a liar. It promises you everything you could possibly want, but never truly delivers. Lust is a thief. All the while it's showing you "the goods", while robbing you of your own. Lust is a deciever. It disguises itself as passion, yet is as promiscuous as ever. Lust is a killer. It murders you from the inside out.
But you can't blame her really. The girl can't help it. She's just like her dad (John 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:14)...
"Now if I listen to this radio, then I might have to split open a swisher and fill it wit green pine--and if I listen to this TV, then you would catch me chasin' plenty chicks 'cause homie, they fine--but I DDT my mind, put my flesh in a figure 4--yeah, sometimes I fall, but this right here ain't gone kill me though--even if I have to be a blind amputee I promise that my Father here is purgin' me of all of my impurity--Bang on 'em! Bang on 'em! Go hard, Father! Reign on 'em! Reign on 'em! Show you God--'Cause every time I slow up, that's when my Father show up--make way for an escape and I'm right back scrappin' like, 'What up?!'--Tell my TV to shut up--what you sellin', I don't want it--hide that Word inside my heart--Ron Artest, gon' and guard it--So I don't want yo goodies, baby--you can keep yo cookies, baby--I know they got M&M's, but this road I'm on is slim 'n' shady." - PRo (Covenant Eyes)
Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-34; 7:6-27; 9:13-18
Soli Deo Gloria,