Matthew 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Sexual lust may very well be the most prevalent sin in American society today. We are saturated with it. Anyone who has not cut themselves off from the world is bombarded with images and ideas and attitudes that are completely contrary to the word of God regarding sexuality. It is certain that this has a negative effect upon Christian men and women. As we are constantly exposed to the basest of sexual sins, we can become numb. I just want to provide a short exhortation to Christian men and women to help us abide by the word of God in the midst of such filth.
Lust is in the look. I know, and am always disappointed in the fact, that many read Matthew 5:28 in such a way that the sin Christ is forbidding is something beyond the look. Sin is only committed when a man allows himself to start thinking lustful thoughts about the woman he has looked at. Sin only occurs when he allows himself to start entertaining lustful imagination. I think every truly converted man knows in his heart of hearts that the lust is in the look itself.
No, I am not saying that we have sinned any time we see a woman provocatively dressed etc. I am not saying that a man cannot look a pretty woman in the face while he talks to her either. Let’s not play games, you all know what I’m talking about. A man can derive some form of sensual pleasure just from looking at a woman. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is popular for one reason, lust. And that lust does not begin when men stop looking at the pictures and start imagining things.
Men, keep that battle at the front line. Fight not to allow yourself to look in that way. When images appear on your computer screen or in the grocery checkout isle, don’t allow yourself the little bit of sensual pleasure you get from looking at the woman and fight to keep yourself from allowing it to go further.
A thought that has helped me over the years may help you as well:
More surely than candy will rot your teeth, eye candy will rot your soul
Don’t commit adultery in your heart. Don’t allow your eyes to fulfill the lusts of your heart. You cannot accomplish this in your own strength though. Make it your constant prayer that the Spirit of our Holy God will bear His fruit of self control in your life and enable you to mortify this lust.
Why do women post bikini selfies on social media? You don’t need to struggle to answer that question do you? They want men to lust after them. There may be other motives as well, but this is certainly a primary one. They derive some sort of satisfaction in the knowledge that men are sexually attracted to them. Are Christian women immune from this sinful desire? If they were, it would have been superfluous for God to exhort them to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). You don’t have to post cleavage shots on FB to be guilty of indulging this lust.
Dear sisters in Christ, your brothers struggle not to indulge the lust of their eyes. We know that we are responsible for our own hearts and our own eyes. When we beseech you to dress modestly, we are not doing so because we think that if you dress provocatively it excuses our sin. But that does not mean that you have no reason not to dress provocatively. What does provocative dress even mean? It means dressing in such a way that provokes lust in others.
Form fitting clothes, whether they be yoga pants or tank tops can easily provoke even Christian men to lust. Short skirts and revealing tops do the same. In fact, such things are much more likely to be a temptation to a sincere Christian man than to an unbeliever. A man who indulges in pornography may think nothing of a form fitting top because he is used to seeing so much more, but a Christian man who fights to keep himself from such things may be caused to stumble. David surely had the greater sin in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. But her enticement of him by bathing in his sight is certainly blameworthy as well.
I’m sure this short exhortation will draw nothing but wrath from those women who are constantly seeking to justify wearing provocative clothing and the men who want to justify their looking. But I sincerely hope it may urge genuine Christian men and women to honor Christ in this area.
His Throne is Forever and Ever!