Read Matthew 5:27-30
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, 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. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off 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. (NLT)
They say that Christians who always go on and on about lust have a problem with it. Let’s risk such accusations by looking at what Jesus says about it here. First up, we need to say that lust is not simply acknowledging the physical attractiveness of another person. God made us physical and sexual and we can’t ignore that. Lust is to do with the second and third look, the lingering look.
Lust has to do with a settled, calculated intention to have sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married. Our imaginations are fed, our desires stimulated, our fantasies are given shape. Noting a person’s sexual attractiveness is normal and understandable. Figuring that you might want to do something about it is when it becomes a problem.
Jesus is wanting to get behind the physical act of adultery to the inner motivations. Lust is not the same as adultery just as anger is not the same as murder. But lust is the context from which adultery comes. We don’t just tackle the issue of adultery; we tackle the issue of lust as well. No point in trying to fix up the symptom without dealing with the cause.
Of course Jesus is using exaggeration to make his point about dealing with lust. The point being that we take radical action to nip lust in the bud otherwise we suffer even more radical consequences. Such radical action does not mean a denial of sexuality, but a proper disciplining of it. Jesus condemns lust not because he is anti-sex but because he is pro-love.