We have become a people consumed by a constant concern for the quality of food that we eat and the type of water that we will drink. What if we felt the same way about our sin as we do about the food and water that we consume? We’re so concerned about something being gross or a insignificant amount of pollutant in our water, all the while we ignore our spiritual sickness. For many of us we've bought the lie that just a little bit of sin won't harm us. A hint of spiritual pollutant won't affect our relationship with Jesus and others.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the area of lust. Lust is desiring sexually what God has forbidden you to possess. Simply, lust is sin. Why? Because God has created sexual relationships for marriage, therefore, any actions or thoughts outside of that context is sin. Here is the problem, with lust or any of the other Seven Deadly sins, we don't like to admit our sinful propensity to run toward evil. We like to assume that we know what’s best for us, that a little bit of lust won’t harm us. Lust is not just a "man's issue," we need to let go of that societal fiction. Women lust as well, McDreamy's death on Grey's Anatomy reveals that simple, but often overlooked truth.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Colossae and to us: Put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). "Put to death," strong language that means exactly that means in the Greek, "stop completely." Are we stopping, "putting to death" our personal sins of lust, impurity, and sexual immorality? You see, if we've surrendered our lives to Jesus, holiness and purity should now be the mark of our lives.
Now here is where it gets tough…we can hear and maybe even be convicted that we need to flee from lust, but we can't…why…because can be incredibly sin enjoyable (at least for a time). Even more, there is an underlying reality in each us, we're selfish and we care more about out fleeting thoughts and emotions than we do about the God who has created all things, including passion, love, and sex. So rather than submitting to His Lordship in all areas of our lives we choose sin rather than holiness.
We must realize that even a little of pollution corrupts our minds and ultimately our actions. Culturally, pornography and sexual fantasy have become acceptable, but in God's economy it causes us to fall short of loving Him and even loving our neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37). We need to stop minimizing the sin of lust in and outside of the church, it has destroyed enough families and lives, has it not? As Christians we should be leading the way in the fight for purity and not constantly acquiescing to the culture.
Simply, sin corrupts our hearts and minds. Either we’re growing closer to Jesus and sin is being put to death or we’re engaging in sin and it is putting us to death. As John Owen, the puritan writer and preacher has been noted as having said, "Be killing sin or it will be killing you." We need to stop managing our sin...that is, we need to stop believing that a little bit here and little there is not destructive, those are lies of Satan and they need to be banished.
Put to death therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming (3:5–6). The last portion of verse 6 is overwhelming...Paul is reminding the Colossians and he’s reminding us that God will suddenly intervene in history (personal: in your life) and all of us will be held accountable for our sins. May our hearts be awakened to desire God's everlasting holiness rather than the fleeting passions of lust.
The Lord says, put sin to death…don’t be polluted by sexual immorality, impurity, and lust. Here’s the thing, sexual desires are normal and healthy. God has created us to have sexual desires, it’s part of our physical and emotional make–up, but the problem comes when we begin to follow our sinful passions rather than the righteous desires of the Lord.
When we start chasing lust and not the Lord, it’s like any other sin…we’ve placed it above your relationship with Jesus. Idolatry. We are called to submit every singe area of our lives under the Lordship of Jesus including the area of lust.
Y’all if you’re unwilling to give Him your whole life, including your struggles with lust and sexual immorality, than chances are pretty God you’re not a Christian. You cannot live for Jesus on your terms…living for Christ is a constant thing with all areas of your life coming under His Lordship. Lust is not acceptable. Sexual immorality is not acceptable. Impurity is not acceptable. Even a little bit of pollution is unhealthy.
Listen, all of our hearts and minds are polluted with sin…that’s been the point of this blog series on the Seven Deadly Sins. We are corrupted by sin…the sin of lust is real and it’s in each one of us, but were not without hope. Jesus died to set us free from those sins. None of us are safe, even the slightest of pollution will eventually kill us…why…because what is slight eventually grows. Sin is a pollutant, it's a weed, it will always grow if left alone. Paul wrote quite confidently: Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (3:1–2). Are we focused on Jesus or on "earthly things?"
If our focus is on "earthly things," we need to take our sin to Jesus, simply, we need to preach the Gospel to ourselves. Recognize our sin, repent and run (3 R's: Recognize, Repent, and Run) to Christ...He’s the only One that can remove the pollution that has seeped into our hearts and minds. He’s the only One that can cleanse our contaminated lives. The beautiful truth for us is this, the more we seek Jesus, the more sin is "put to death."
Were called to put to death the sins of lust and sexual immorality, but look what Paul says just a few verses later: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called… (Colossians 3:12, 14–15). As Christians we have been chosen by God to live a holy life…our lives should look differently than the person who does not have Christ. By God's grace and the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit we're called to "put to death" the sin that is polluting our lives, but we're also called to put "put on" all the beautiful attributes that makes us a part of God's redeemed and truly loved people!
May we embrace the God who loves us, died for us, and gives us the love and peace that rules in our hearts!
*Darren DePaul serves as the Executive Pastor at CITYLIGHTS. You can read more about the other "Seven Deadly Sins" Darren's website: darrenjdepaul.com.