May 15, 2009
Closing the Door to Lust, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
Samson was a he-man with a she-weakness. In spite of the fact that he was born of godly parents, set apart from his birth to be a Nazirite, and elevated to the enviable position of judge in Israel, he never conquered his tendency toward lust. On the contrary, it conquered him. Several things that illustrate his lustful bent may be observed from the record of his life in the book of Judges.
1. The first recorded words from his mouth were: I saw a woman (14:2).
2. He was attracted to the opposite sex strictly on the basis of outward appearance: Get her for me, for she looks good to me (14:3).
3. He judged Israel for 20 years, then went right back to his old habit of chasing women---a harlot in Gaza, and finally Delilah (15:20-16:4).
4. He became so preoccupied with his lustful desires, he didn't even know the Lord had departed from him (16:20).
The results of Samson's illicit affairs are familiar to all of us. The strong man of Dan was taken captive and became a slave in the enemy's camp, his eyes were gouged out of his head, and he was appointed to be the grinder in a Philistine prison. Lust, the jailer, binds and blinds and grinds. The swarthy pride of Israel, who once held the highest office in the land, was now the bald-headed clown of Philistia, a pathetic hollow shell of humanity. His eyes would never wander again. His life, once filled with promise and dignity, was now a portrait of hopeless, helpless despair. Chalk up another victim for lust. The perfumed memories of erotic pleasure in Timnah, Gaza, and the infamous valley of Sorek were now overwhelmed by the putrid stench of a Philistine dungeon.
Without realizing it, Solomon wrote another epitaph---this one for Samson's tombstone:
His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray. (Proverbs 5:22-23)
The same words could well be chiseled in the marble over many other tombs. I think, for example, of the silver-throated orator of Rome, Mark Antony. In his early manhood, he was so consumed with lust that his tutor once shouted in disgust:
O Marcus! O colossal child . . . able to conquer the world but unable to resist a temptation!
I think of the gentleman I met several years ago---a fine itinerant Bible teacher. He said he had been keeping a confidential list of men who were once outstanding expositors of the Scripture, capable and respected men of God . . . who have shipwrecked their faith on the shoals of moral defilement. During the previous week, he said, he had entered the name ofnumber 42 in his book. This sad, sordid statistic, he claims, caused him to be extra cautious and discreet in his own life. Perhaps, by now, he has added a couple dozen more.
A chill ran down my spine when he told that story. No one is immune. You're not. I'm not. Lust is no respecter of persons. Whether by savage assault or subtle suggestion, the minds of a wide range of people are vulnerable to its attack. Sharp professional men and women, homemakers, students, carpenters, artists, musicians, pilots, bankers, senators, plumbers, promoters, and preachers as well. Its alluring voice can infiltrate the most intelligent mind and cause its victim to believe its lies and respond to its appeal. And beware---it never gives up . . . it never runs out of ideas. Bolt your front door and it'll rattle at the bedroom window, crawl into the living room through the TV screen, or wink at you out of a magazine in the den.
How do you handle such an aggressive intruder? Try this: when lust suggests a rendezvous, send Jesus Christ as your representative.
Have Him inform your unwanted suitor that you want nothing to do with illicit desire . . .nothing. Have your Lord remind lust that since you and Christ have been united together, you are no longer a slave to sin. (Read Romans 6.) His death and resurrection freed you from sin's stranglehold and gave you a new Master! And that new Master isn't afraid to slam the door in lust's face, no matter how far it has slinked in.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.