Jesus says: You're self-righteous adulterers!

I remember talking to a man once who said, "I would never cheat on my wife, but she doesn't care where I get my appetite from so long as I am hungry by the time I get home for dinner."

There is something about our humanity that loves to lust.  We love it almost as much if not more-so than actual sex itself.  The erotic is something of a drug that we are capable of taking a hit from at almost any time.  Who hasn't had a fling in their mind with somebody real or imagined at some point in their life?  And who didn't love it?  We all have.

We love lust because lust allows us to enter into a secret world where we can indulge in others without actually indulging in others.  There is a certain sense of morality about lust.

Like the man I once talked to, he would never ever dream on cheating on his wife.  He loved her very much.  But after many years of marriage to her, the honeymoon was over, and he needed a little something extra in his life to work up his "appetite."  But it's all good, because he was keeping his actions in check, and not stepping out on his wife.  In essence,  without realizing it, this man was arguing that lust helped him to be a faithful and dutiful husband.

It's amazing how deep our sense of self-righteousness runs.

And it is this sense of self-righteousness that makes it possible for books like "Fifty Shades of Grey" or websites like "Porn Hub" to make their way into all of our homes.  And I would argue that our struggle with lust isn't so much lust itself, as it is our own self-righteousness.

After all, most women don't want to be seen as whores with a past.  And most guys don't want to be known as a player or a cheat.  So we never engage in acting out in the physical what we do in the mental. And that makes us feel good about ourselves.  It's the, "I would never cheat on my wife, but I will work up my appetite" attitude that takes hold on us more powerfully than anything else.

But to such Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
"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 lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28; NASB)
So, before you start patting yourself on the back about what a good person you've been, consider the words of Jesus regarding lust.  You can pat yourself on the back all you want about being single and a virgin.  But your Internet Service Provider knows what sort of websites you like to visit.  You may never chaet on your spouse, but Facebook knows how frequently you visit the profile page of an old high school crush, or the one that got away.  And what harm is there in a little flirtation you indulge in with the guy or gal at work or at the gym?

All these activities (and more) are simply self-righteousness mascarading as lust.

And I think that is ultimately what makes lust so intoxicating and such a difficult sin to overcome.  That's why we clear internet browser histories, or only hit on others when our spouse isn't around.  We hate the idea of being exposed more than the behavior we are actually engaging in.  We want to continue to keep up appearances and making sure we have a squeaky clean reptuation.  

But Jesus has us figured all out.

And, in order to deal a crippling blow to the power of lust, Jesus exposes and categorizes us as adulterers in our hearts.  Wearing a Scarlet "A" is an identity few of us are really willing embrace.  Instead, we like to say we just have a problem with porn or flirting with others.  We say we like the ladies, or we like the attention.

But Jesus says our true problem is with self-righteousness.

And until we deal with the root problem of the intoxication we have over feeling good about ourselves, we will never be able to truly defeat any struggles we have with lust.  You'll never cut lust out of your life until you are willing to believe and confess that you are an adulterer at heart.  But most of us who struggle with lust would never really confess to being an adulterer.

Instead, we shun that label for a million other labels, as we don't think our sin is that severe.  So we make light of it.  But to Jesus, our sin is that severe.  And our trivializing lust as a million other things than what it truly is, adultery, keeps us enslaved to the grasp that sin has on our life all the more.  And all because we want to think of ourselves as a little more righteousness than we in fact are.

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