Life Notes—June 20, 2013
“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
When I was a child there was always some toy I simply had to have. As I entered adolescence my desires became more relational in nature. I began noticing the various degrees and types of beauty in members of the opposite sex and I desired to have a girlfriend. It could have been body shape or hair or smile or a mannerism that caught my eye. And I would believe she was all I needed for contentment. But as with all types of surface beauty there is always someone or something more beautiful and intriguing. But my wants found their most lasting manifestation in a desire for musical instruments. I have many interesting and beautiful instruments, most of which collect dust and take up space. I may become obsessed with a new guitar because of its wood or tone or the way it feels in my hands and I’ll think, “Wow, this is the last guitar I’ll ever need—it’s perfect!” But of course, it is never perfect forever. Useful? Yes. Beautiful? Yes. Provide lasting contentment? No. Contentment is not found in the ‘stuff’ of the earth.
Desire and passion are natural and healthy and necessary parts of our lives. They color and animate everything we do. But lust takes a natural appreciation for beauty or utility and perverts it into an unhealthy obsession. Lust is a corrupting influence that knocks our lives out of balance. It sets us outside the realm of the normal and isolates us from those around us. It drives us to work too many hours, to betray vital relationships, to hoard things well beyond usefulness. Lust can lead us to social isolation and even to jail; if not to an actual correctional facility, then to an imprisonment of the mind.
Lust is desire on steroids—intense, relentless and all-consuming. Lust often manifests itself in sexual desires, but it is hardly limited to sex. Lust also manifests in desires for power or money or fame. It is a sin of degree, as a desire for enough of life’s blessings is natural and healthy. It becomes a sin when our lust negatively impacts our relationships and infects important parts of our lives. Lust deceives us into believing a new relationship or job or guitar is what is missing in our life. And when it causes us to give up on or risk something of true value already present in our life it becomes sinful—a deadly sin because lust leads us into a cycle of insatiable desire for that which is temporal and unhealthy. Such a cycle can be difficult to break or control, often requiring professional assistance and a great deal of prayer. As in the scripture above, we are called as “participants of the divine nature.” We separate ourselves farther from that divine nature when our desires escalate to lustful obsessions. Next week I will explore the next of the seven deadly sins, gluttony.
Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Our west campus has two worship services at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. If we must lust for something, lust for the Lord.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator