By Johnny O. Trail — One of the greatest kings to ever rule over the nation of Israel was King David. Jews during the time of Jesus were looking for a Messiah figure likened unto king David (Marks 11.10). He was described as a man after God’s own heart. Acts 13.22 says, “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”
The wisest man to ever walk the fact of the planet, other than Christ, was King Solomon. Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God complied with his request. He tells Solomon in 1 Kings 3:12 “Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.”
One of the strongest men to ever live was Samson. His feats of strength are amazing to consider. Scripture reveals that his strength created problems for the enemies of God’s people. Judges 16:5 says, “And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.”
What did all three of these men have in common? They all struggled with lust! David lusted after Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:2 says, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.” His lust would ultimately result in the murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband.
Solomon loved the pagan women he married and had as concubines. 1Kings 11:2-3 says, “Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” His love for these pagan women would turn his heart away from serving God.
Samson was blinded by the treachery of Delilah. At the urging of the Philistines, she underhandedly sought out the source of Samson’s great strength. His history with women culminated in the duplicitous Delilah revealing to the Philistines the source of his power. Judges 16:4 “And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.”
To say the least, this was a pattern of behavior for Samson. He frequented prostitutes (Judges 16.1) and women who were terribly bad for him (Judges 14.1-3). Lust seemed to be a serious problem in his life and a continual theme. It would ultimately be his downfall.
If the one of the greatest kings, one of the wisest kings, and one of the strongest men to ever live struggled with lust, why do we refuse to acknowledge that problem in our own lives? Acknowledging it is a far cry from trying to defend it. As a matter of fact, admitting the struggle could be the first step in overcoming the temptation.
Multitudes of men, good men, and some women, good women, struggle with lust. Some of the greatest names mentioned in the Old Testament had these same struggles. If this is true, why are we reluctant to admit that there is a problem? Failure to admit shortcomings (sin) is a powerful weapon that Satan uses against people in general. James 5:15-16 says, “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Jesus Christ believed that it was a serious problem to the extent that He gave a warning against it. Matthew 5:28 says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” These things being stated, why do people ignore the problems associated with lust that are plaguing our congregations, destroying lives, and marriages?
I have counseled with multiple generations of men who have struggled with lust (pornography). With tears running down their faces, they have described a real struggle to quit a habit that is destroying their souls, ruining their lives, and wrecking their marriages. This problem cuts across all socioeconomic, ethnic, and demographic considerations. Preachers, elders, and other leaders in the church must garner enough courage to address this crisis that continues to adversely affect the church.
The temptation to be sexually immoral is like a ravenous beast crouched at the end of a keyboard, the surface of a smart phone, or the screen of a television in our homes. Genesis 4:7 says, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” This is said by God in the context of worship, but the idea remains; sin is waiting to pounce upon its next victim.
Scripture contains powerful warnings against sexual immorality. We are told to “flee” from it. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. The same Greek word φεύγω (pheugō) is used in both passages for the term “flee.” It is a primary verb meaning “to run away (literally or figuratively); by implication to shun; by analogy to vanish: escape, flee (away).
The Bible tells us that lust is something we should be running away from rather than ignoring it. This writer is continually surprised to hear brethren say that “very little” has been mentioned in their Bible classes or from the pulpit on the topics of pornography, sexual temptation, and lust. While these topics are oftentimes distasteful, we are told to proclaim the entire counsel of God. Acts 20:26-27 says, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” We need to pray that preachers and Bible teachers will be bold enough to proclaim the complete counsel of God even when the topic is uncomfortable. Satan is banking on our unwillingness to speak out against sexual sins. Christians need to frustrate his scheme!