Of Lust and Pride
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16
It sucks when the Bible calls you out on your crap. I have had seasons in my life where I sought out my worth from what the world says and what the culture dictates as relevant, as good, and as awesome. I have succumbed to the lusts of my flesh, the lust of my eyes and the boastful pride of life in those seasons. In fact, case in point, I got nominated for a spot in Augusta, Georgia’s local music scene for favorite drummer and the band that I was in got nominated for favorite new local band. Talk about playing into the boastful pride of life. But, there was really not much to be proud of in me during that period of my life! I wasn’t even that great of a drummer!
There was also the season where I struggled with lust. I struggled with porn, I struggled with taking a second and third look at an attractive woman. I wanted to feel wanted and needed. I wanted to be desired. This is an area we do not wish to discuss openly in church. Maybe it is too real. Too raw. But, it is an area where the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh merge as one. We may like to ignore it as something that does not affect believers, but we are kidding ourselves if we don’t think it does.
Think about this, according to Covenant Eyes, one in seven senior pastors and one in five youth pastors are currently struggling with porn. Currently struggling. 43% of senior pastors and youth pastors say they have struggled with porn. Only 7% report that they have some sort of class or program designed to help those struggling. 64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women admit to having had a struggle with porn. But, we like to gloss over this issue because it makes us uncomfortable. Which leads us to ignore it and not address it because some of us may fear how people will look at us as a result of truly addressing it from the heart.
One step further, there is evidence that shows that porn addiction tends to lead to acting out sexually. Perhaps this, in part, is what has given rise to 50-60% of men engaging in extra-marital affairs, and 45-50% of women? Whatever the world says the cause is, the Bible tells us that this is rooted in sin. Now, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh is of the world and we are called out of the world; however, ignoring the problem does not make it go away because while we are called out of the world, we still live in it with all the temptations that run rampant through our societies.
The reality of the situation is: we all have our lusts. Whether it is porn, overeating to the point that we are miserable, telling people whatever they want to hear, or we need them to hear so that we are viewed as big, strong and tough—all of that falls under craving, desire and a longing within us. We all have some area where we struggle. Not past tense. Present tense. We may not struggle with certain things now, but we all have struggles. Be it jealousy or coveting—lusting for that which we do not have; be it gossip—lust for being in the know and having all the sordid details; or be it arrogance and pride, which can manifest as slander—speaking into or about someone’s life that we do not even really know. How many times have we started a conversation with, “Well, I think that he or she is…” and really we are trying to do God’s job for Him? Isn’t that what Satan did to Job? Isn’t that sort of what God kicked Satan out of Heaven for, being so full of pride that he thought he could do God’s job better than God?
The Bible tells us in Romans 13:14 to put on Christ and not make any provision for our flesh. We should not put ourselves in the position to satisfy our flesh. That is one of the reasons why I had my wife put passcode-encrypted restrictions on my devices so that I cannot even go to sites that would be a stumbling block. In Ephesians 2:2-6, Paul tells us that we were all children of disobedience. All of us! And that while we used to cater to our flesh, while we used to carry out the desires of our flesh and our minds like the rest of mankind—the world—we are now saved by grace and we are not to be like that any longer!! We are not to be who we used to be. We are to be changed!
You have a unique opportunity here. You are not in the midst of your church peeps. You aren’t sitting in on a sermon where the pastor is looking you in your eyeballs. You are reading a blog and God is with you, watching you, seeing into the depths of your heart and knowing all your junk in all the ways that only God can and may ever will. What is it that you are clinging to in your walk with Christ that He is trying to show you that you are being disobedient to Him with? Why are you still clinging to that? Do you not know that with His help, you can set that burden down and be made whole?
We can make it through all of the highs and lows we face. We can make it through our struggles. Being a servant of Christ is not about who has it all together, or who can quote the most scripture, or even who has the best qualifications. It’s about teaching what He commands and doing our best to live it out while we love others the same way He loves us. He did not love us when we got all proper and right with Him. He loved us before that. He did not stop loving us when we fell down. He loved us through it. He told His disciples He was always with them, which meant even when they got it wrong. We can make it through all our struggles even when we are wrong by confessing our crap to Him, by repenting, by holding one another accountable in His love and always striving to love as He loves. Are we doing that? Are you doing that? I pray that we are!!
Until Next Time