Learning to Flee the Lust of the Eyes

The last few days I have exhorted you from God's Word to flee the lust of the eyes. We saw that the lust of the eyes is the struggle Lot seemed to have. 

Think about what happened to him. Lot did not sit down one day and say—you know, I want to destroy my wife, my kids, my testimony, my legacy, and my friendship with God and Abraham. 

No, Satan usually doesn't work that way. Lust is Satan's tool through the back door. He takes something that is already a part of our life and distorts it. Lot's problem started with his career. He was just trying to take care of his family. His business was grazing sheep and goats. The pastures were not large enough for both his flocks and his uncle Abraham's. So he is offered a choice of where to work, where to locate his business. 

It is good to be in business. Profit is the correct result of being a good businessman. Watching out for your family is commanded by God. So all that he did was right—until his lust of the eyes clicked in. What is that lust again? 

It is the temptation we all face to chase stuff, that is the lusting of the eyes. These are all of the material temptations.  This is lust for things.  The things may be as large as a house or as small as a ring, as bright and dazzling as a new sports car or as dull and dusty as a two-hundred-year-old antique dresser. Lest we think that this is not as bad as the lusts of the flesh, remember that covetousness (insatiable longing for more things) is as damnable as idol worship. That means that the lust for possessions is as wicked as the lust for immorality. Beware of both, they are deadly! 

It is the care of stuff that Jesus said makes our hearts grow cold. It is when we are rich and increased with goods that we abandon the need to hold Christ's Hand—and we set off on our own. So this evening we return to the lesson of Lot. Beware of the lust of the eyes! 

One of the greatest heroes of the faith in all God's Word resides side-by-side with one of the saddest pictures of lost opportunity and squandered grace. Abraham the spiritual giant and Lot the spiritual dwarf. What a lesson about the power of lust to distract, divert, debilitate, defeat, and finally destroy a good life. 

How many Abrahams and Lots walk through life side by side until the moment of truth, when one chooses to say no to lust and the other says yes. It is amazing how far apart those lives can end up that once were so close. 

Abraham made little choices to be a pilgrim and stranger in this world (to the lust of flesh, lust of eyes, pride of life). But Lot made little choices to be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:2).  

Abraham became the father of the covenant people of God, the father of the faithful, a hero of faith, and man who is revered by the three great monotheistic religions of the world—and most of all, he became the friend of God. But all that Lot spent his life doing, all that Lot lived for, all that Lot labored for--went up in smoke and was buried under ruins somewhere in the area around the Dead Sea.  

Abraham is the chief example of faith in the New Testament. In spite of his struggles, lapses, and sins—he never stopped seeking the Lord and following Him. But Lot is a warning to all believers not to love the world, not to become friendly with the world, and not to be stained by the world (James 1:27), because the day of reckoning finally comes. 

But what is the good news? Christ is a refuge, to Him we may flee at any time. Lets learn how as we open to 2 Peter and stand to read these precious promises. 

  • 2 Peter 2:7-9 “and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,”  

Any form of lust God hates. And so any form of lust we must flee and also hate.

  • Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

Lot will forever be a lesson about what happens to those who don’t flee for refuge to Christ.   

But that is not how it has to be. Our lives do not have to be ruined and our families do not have to be ruined by our choices. God’s grace is available. 

  • Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;” NAS 
  • Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” NIV
  •  Titus 2:11-13 “ For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,” NKJV

 If you want to learn to flee lust, experience anew and afresh the grace of God. One of the most graced men in all the Bible was Paul—he is forever the champion of grace. He is the one that wrote Titus 2. So how did he beat the constant temptations of his day? Let’s find out. 

  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” NIV
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” NAS

Paul had a secret, he was regularly knocking himself out. The term 'discipline’ is a Greek word that literally means 'to hit under the eye”. It is in the present active indicative form so it means "I am constantly hitting myself under the eye [i.e. knock out blow] and I am constantly enslaving my body” He knocked out the bodily impulses to keep them from preventing him from his mission that Christ bought and paid for him to do here on earth. The question each of us need to ask ourselves is—are we?

 

 

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