Guilt and Evil Desires
I grew up attending a conservative church. It gave me a solid foundation in my Christian life. But I also learned some things that weren’t in the Bible. I was taught it’s sin to go to movies. I’ll never forget the first time I went to a movie theater as a young adult. I had long since worked through what the Bible teaches and knew it wasn’t sin. It was a PG movie. Yet my evil conscience, not the Holy Spirit, told me I shouldn’t be there.
Many of us have deeply ingrained beliefs that we haven’t personally studied. Things we believe just because it’s what we’ve been taught. An example of this is the belief that all evil desires are sin. Many who believe this constantly feel defeated in their Christian lives. It’s a logical consequence because we all have evil desires every day. In yesterday’s post I gave five reasons why attacking evil desires, at the moment they enter our minds are not sin.
When I teach this a hand immediately goes up. “What about Matthew 5:27-28? There is no question Jesus says lust is sin in that verse!” I say, “I’m glad you brought that up. Let’s look at it.”
“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.”
Unfortunately many don’t read these verses the way Jesus said them. Here’s how people read them.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone with lust has already committed adultery in his heart.”
They leave out “who looks at a woman with . . . intent.” Jesus isn’t saying lust is sin. He isn’t saying everyone with evil lust is guilty, He’s saying the one who does something with that lust is. The one who makes it his own and lets his mind fantasize is guilty.
Imagine two Christian men sitting on a park bench. A modestly dressed woman walks by them. At the same moment both are attacked with the same evil desire, to sexually fantasize about her. The first man stops immediately. He prays, “Father, I’m your child and so is she. I’m dead to sin and don’t have to obey this evil desire. I’m alive to you and choose to look upon her as You do. I honor her and You.” He chooses self-control and joy and doesn’t look with lustful intent. The other man thinks, “Oh, she’s sexy!” and lets his mind race and fantasize.
Who’s Jesus talking about? Both men? No, just the second. The one who looks, who makes the desire his own and acts upon it is guilty.
This is a hard truth for many to accept because all you’ve ever heard is evil lust is sin. Evil desire can quickly become so, but it doesn’t have to be. If you deal with it, resist it, don’t give into it, flee from it, you won’t sin and you’ll have nothing to feel guilty about!
This post is not an excuse to ever allow evil desires a place in your mind. It’s the opposite! Let’s start fighting the battle with evil desires the second they enter our minds.
I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment or question below!