Lust is violence

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.”

The Bible teaches that we do not live in a world absent God. But more than that, God is not merely one more piece of “furniture” in the universe. He’s not something that can be ‘added to’ or ‘removed from’ the world without consequence. Rather, if God exists (and He does), then His Being undergirds all reality. And humans, being made in his image, are sacred in their being (both soul & body).

This is why humans are charged not to murder, for man is made in the image of God, and is sacred — including his body. The Human Body, then, has a value that is unique in creation. This is not to say that all creation is invaluable, but rather that humans–and their bodily integrity–have a certain additional value in virtue of their unique status as God’s image bearers.

When we lust, we are taking, we are using, the body of another human being for ourselves. We are profaning something sacred. We are taking something holy and treating it as something common, as if it were there merely to satisfy another appetite — but it’s not. It’s involved in the very creation of more humans. You cannot separate the meaning of the human body from the object of the human body. If you could, one could be violent with human bodies — destroying them — just as you can do with an inanimate object, such as a tree or rock. But we know that’s wrong. We know it’s wrong to be violent with other humans, because they are not mere objects.

When we lust after other humans, seeking to take them for ourselves, we are denying their meaning and value. Even if the other person we’re lusting after is a willing participant, that does not remedy the issue. It only means that they themselves are denying what their body is for, that it is something sacred. And when we affirm them in that denial, that does not absolve us, but rather means we are encouraging them to deny themselves. Imagine if someone were harming themselves — say cutting — and they knew other people would pay them money to cut themselves, and they took a certain pleasure in other people viewing them cut themselves, would the person who pays the cutter in order to watch them cut be absolved? Because the cutter is willing? God no.

And when we engage in lust, pornography, fornication, whatever it may be, using the body of another, and affirming them in that, we are profaning the sacredness of their body.

God made humans sexual creatures. Sex isn’t bad or evil. The union between a man and woman in intercourse is deep and profound. It isn’t just material. The Bible says, “the two shall be one”. But that oneness is meant to illustrate a covenant relationship. It’s an outward expression and demonstration to the other that you are saying, I am entirely yours, and that each is saying that to other. To do that with your body, but not your being, devalues yourself and them.

Why I’m Writing

I’ve struggled with bouts of depression since I was a little kid. Recently I went through another instance of this — where my faith, my family, my friends, my work, and productive hobbies seemed to hold little interest for me. This was not a fun experience because I’ve assumed that as I age, hopefully growing in maturity and wisdom, that I would experience more consistent joy and motivation. One thing I can say, is that I now view periods like I just went through differently: instead of trying to get them to end ASAP, I now also try to learn from them. What benefit can I take away from what I just experienced that might help me in the future.

For a number of reasons, I think it’s time for me to begin writing regularly, even if it’s just 15-minutes per day, but I’m hoping it will be more than that.

I don’t know what to write about though. I suppose a helpful place to start is ask myself: what do I want? What do I hope will come from this? And I can think of no better way to go about that question than prayer.

I know that I am uniquely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). I know that I am made in Your image (Genesis 1). I know that you have good works prepared for me to do, from before the beginning of the age (Ephesians 2). I also know that you work with us. You desire to co-create through us, not just dictate to us. That’s part of what being made in your image is, as well as participating in your divine nature (2 Peter 1), and being destined to rule and reign with you (Revelation 20 & 21). But Lord, my own heart is a mystery to me. What is it that I most want? Father, hear my prayer, what is it that I most want? I know you’ve made me for Your glory, and I know You’re interested in the desires of my heart (Psalm 34), so give me clarity on what is the work I’m made for, which will bring me sustaining joy, bring You glory, and be a service to the world.

Lord, I believe the time has come for me to grow up in my calling as an adult – as a minister of your gospel – to put away childish things. I need help ruling my own heart. I do not want to be selfish, but I feel as if I must begin with working on myself before I can help lead or teach others. Father, I am asking for your help and grace to grow in the following:

  1. My faith and surrender to You.
  2. My love, patience with, and attention to those around me.
  3. Clarity on my calling — on its meaning, value, and significance.
  4. How to act and comport myself in the world — how to act in the midst of chaos and the unknown — how to extend Your Kingdom — bringing love, order, peace, and joy in the midst of trial.
  5. How to live in an orientation of listening and paying attention.
  6. How to bring my flesh in submission to my Spirit.
  7. How to communicate Your Gospel in a loving, winsome, and clear manner.

Lead me Father, in Jesus’ name.