Thursday, March 19, 2009

Se7en: Lust & Greed

As we continue our series on sin, the impact of lust and greed in our culture is overwhelming. Lust and greed are probably the more prominent sins of our consumer driven, instant gratification society. We have to have what we want with as much as we want and of course when we want it. This is true whether we're at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green, in line at the cashier rushing to get out the store, or at the computer feeding perverted desires.

In Proverbs 6:20-29, the author warns of the dangers of lust and greed. The example is lust for a women but it can easily be replaced with any other object of choice. Lust or greed may promise to please but in the end it fails to fulfill. It’s like the fish who sees the worm dangling for food only to bite and become hooked at the mouth. The actions will not go without consequence.

The problem with lust and greed is when the desire of an object becomes a demand leading to dependence on such object. This is commonly known as addiction. Lust and greed, as any addictions, are god-substitutes and biblically known as idols. We must ask ourselves, “For who or what am I lusting/greedy?” or the biblical question, “Who or what am I worshiping over God?”

John Owen, in his classic work On The Mortification of Sin in Believers says, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” In other words, you cannot simply fight lust or greed on your own terms by avoiding it, hoping to wound it and let it go away. You must get to the root and destroy it by fighting with the spiritual weapons God has provided.

SO, how do I kill the sin of lust/greed?
Fight with Saturation
God is to be feared because he is holy. However, this fear is not to make you scared as much as it is meant to increase your intrigue of him. God, the Creator of heaven and earth has created you to saturate yourself in him. Don’t miss this! Therefore, I pray the imaginations of your mind, the affections of your heart and the desires of your heart will be awakened to true and everlasting joy in Christ. This can happen by saturating yourself in the Psalms and cultivating a life of prayer. Time with God, or lack of, will shape your appetite for lust and greed.
Psalm 16:4a,11 “The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”
Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Fight With Scripture
God gave the Bible so we can know Him and be equipped for life. As mentioned, fighting lust is not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Therefore, you must use the proper weapons. When Jesus encountered temptation he used Scripture to defend and attack against the pervasiveness of sin.
Psalm 119:9,11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.”
2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Fight With Strategy
Addictions must be fought with a hard determined look at reality. Those who struggle with lust can track where, when and how they have failed in order to anticipate when temptation is arriving. We must set and keep boundaries that God has designed for our joy and protection.
Psalm 16:6 “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

−Remove and limit your opportunity for lust and greed. If the computer or t.v. is a source of your lust then place it in a highly trafficked area. Don’t use them alone or especially at night when you are physically and emotionally exhausted. Whatever the source of your lust or greed is then seek to diminish your contact with that person or object. Parents need to take the lead in this area, even if it hurts or causes conflict. Your teen will thank you later for it.
Matthew 5:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

−Report to a close friend. Have your friend hold you accountable by asking you pointed questions which you must answer honestly.
Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

−Repent immediately after failure. Sin can drive a wedge between you and God. Youth who are especially emotional may use their sorrow to turn them away from their relationship with God. The key is to ground your emotions and failures in the truth of the gospel. God’s focus is not on personal perfection but in your cross direction; looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3). When you confess your sin God forgives and cleanses from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

−Rest in the gospel, knowing that God forgives and gives mercy. This should not neuter the power of the above principles, yet it should empower you to move forward growing in grace every day.
Titus 2:11-13 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for our blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”


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Anonymous said...

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