March 21, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Lust #2: Jesus First






     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.





#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

Lust #2:

Jesus First

SCRIPTURE:  1 Finally, my dear friends, since you belong to the Lord Jesus, we beg and urge you to live as we taught you. Then you will please God. You are already living that way, but try even harder. 2 Remember the instructions we gave you as followers of the Lord Jesus. 3 God wants you to be holy, so don’t be immoral in matters of sex. 4 Respect and honor your wife. 5 Don’t be a slave of your desires or live like people who don’t know God. 6 You must not cheat any of the Lord’s followers in matters of sex. Remember, we warned you that he punishes everyone who does such things. 7 God didn’t choose you to be filthy, but to be pure. 8 So if you don’t obey these rules, you are not really disobeying us. Instead, you are disobeying God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9 We don’t have to write you about the need to love each other. God has taught you to do this, 10 and you already have shown your love for all his people in Macedonia. But, my dear friends, we ask you to do even more. 11 Try your best to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work hard, just as we taught you to do. 12 Then you will be respected by people who are not followers of the Lord, and you won’t have to depend on anyone. (CEV) (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12)

DEVOTION: Hard-core lust involves matters of sex carried to the extreme of adultery. This passage makes it very clear that pleasing God involves taking the disruption of lust and adultery seriously. Paul says Try even harder.

     I’m a statistically minded person. Give me the facts, ma’am! was the way Sgt. Joe Friday said it on the television show Dragnet.

     The facts are that one in two marriages fail. A majority of these failures probably involve adultery. It would not be fair to minimize the impact of financial problems on marriages. Lust is the first step toward adultery, and failing at, as Paul states, Respecting and honoring your wife (or husband).

     The positive antidote to lust is self-control. This reminds me of the JOY acronym—Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. When encountering lust, we need to fall back on this thinking. Putting Jesus first halts lust in its tracks. Would Jesus be thinking the lusty thoughts? Would Jesus commit adultery?

     Beyond that, others are hurt even by our lustful glances or remarks. By the time we get to thinking of ourselves, the part of scripture that speaks to us most clearly is God didn’t choose you to be filthy, but to be pure.

     Lust doesn’t go away. Otherwise it wouldn’t be on this select list of seven very dangerous sins. Struggles in marriage, lack of self-respect, and feelings of being overpowered in life open the door to lust. Or is it the other way around? Does our natural tendency to lust create problems in marriage, undermine our self-respect, and overpower us? Chicken or the egg, either way, lust is in the middle causing havoc.

     Are there simple answers? No!

     Draw close to God and give God first dibs on your life. Draw close to God and give your spouse second dibs on your life. Draw close to God and give others third dibs on your life. Lust diminishes when we attend to the needs and desires of others.

PRAYER: Thy will, O God! Let me do thy will, O God. With your help my dishonor can become honor to you and your people. Amen.


To start at the beginning of this Lenten study on the Seven Deadly Sins, click on: Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger #2: Anger With God

To read the following devotion, Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Gluttony #2: Eternal Riches, click on:



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The Greening of the Chicago River

The Conestoga Wagons and Wagoners: Thomas Read

Random Acts of Kindness: Pass Them Forward

Flu Bug Invades Our Bodies: Will It Ever End?

Spring—and Asparagus Season—Are Coming

Men Will Walk a Mile in Her Shoes


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