(Just so you know, I’m not writing these things to make you believe: that was another story for another time. This is what you do believe, but forget.)

Lust is just that in you which says you have a right to what you think will make you happy. Lust is just theft that doesn’t actually involve grabbing something.

Lust is not just some abstract idea of sexual sin that “other kids” commit; it is an ingrained human emotion, that the Serpent introduced to Eve. It is that which tells you what you see, what is immediate, what is pragmatic, what you subjectively “prefer” will make you happy (this is what lust does; as to what forms it takes, I may have to tell you in another note, depending on how long this one turns out). This is in complete and total opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which tells you the following:

What is seen is temporal, and what is unseen is eternal. The Lord of the universe resides in Eternity, and He created sight, and by necessity must transcend it. Lust hints at what you see, but you cannot get; Christ demands what faith can see, and His promise is surer than the earth which He has created (for the Voice that calls into existence must, of necessity, transcend that which it creates). You’re not holding off of something you see now so you can get what is better tomorrow: this is the difference between time and eternity, not childish terms such as “now and later.” You have to say “No” to that which is seen, to gain the prize of Christ, who must be gazed upon by faith alone until He calls you to Himself or comes back. This is not to say that you must separate yourself from earth and live as though even good fruit of the Garden which God has given is forbidden. It is simply this: you must deny the silly notion that this is all there is, and therefore you must devote yourself (worship) this that you see; and you must assert that what we see in a glass darkly through God’s word will eventually be face to face.

This goes hand in hand with what is “immediate”. Lust ┬átells you to begin building your Kingdom on earth, comprised of whatever your heart desires. The Gospel is about seeking a city whose builder and maker is God: a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Lust tells you to grab whatever is in front your face, and the Gospel says to look to that which is “ahead”, pressing on towards the mark of the high calling of Christ.

Lust will tell you that which is pragmatic, or seems expedient, will bring you happiness. The Gospel makes no such promises, but it does tell you that the foolishness of the Cross will bring you holiness. God says be “Holy, for I am Holy,” making this, not happiness, our highest end.

Denying self what it immediately wants seems in total opposition to our ideas of what will fix us or make us happy.*┬áLet me just say here, when I talk to you about lust I needn’t publicly tell you what I’m thinking. Unless you are hardening your heart, which is sadly often the case, you will immediately be able to identify the areas where lust is appearing. You are being told this because anything that you lust after, in which you place your confidence, will indeed come between yourself and your Lord. And how, oh how will you be made like Him if you do not draw near to Him? Holiness, our great end, is not achieved by schemes of “do’s” and “don’t’s”, but by drawing near to the noonday blaze of the Sun of Righteousness, a light which will shine on all that is not sanctified unto Him, and a fire which consumes all the dross that is unholiness. Do not think, oh do not think that you can walk with Christ and enjoy what is knowingly clung to through selfishness and hardness of heart. We cannot approach the Sovereign of the universe, who demands holiness of His blood-bought people, without begin changed. If there is lack of change, “unchange” (if you will) relating to your lusts, than you are not close to Him.

Don’t you dare tell me that was a rabbit trail, for I will sum it all up like this: The Gospel is not about immediate happiness, but lasting Holiness (which, just so you know, involves God’s nearness, in which there is fullest joy; you’re not losing anything). Holiness involves-no, is epitomized- in drawing near to a Holy God. Don’t let proud, selfish, unbelieving lust steal that from you.

And finally, we reach the crux of the matter: Lust tells you that the most important thing for you as an individual is what you prefer. This is the most important thing because it is in complete and total opposition to the Gospel, which has nothing to do with your personal preferences. Christ deals with a soul on a personal level (we are all dead at birth, so sorry, you can’t be born into “the right family”) but His dealings place us in a Body that constitutes His Holy Bride, a bride which is not concerned with herself but with Him. This isn’t imbalanced or unfair; the world will tell you to look at relationship from a standpoint of mutual contribution and mutual returns. It raises the objection that it is really unfair that we have to go through life laying aside subjectivism for our Husband. But in reality, we have been joined to the only Being, the One who alone possess objective worth and beauty, because He was perfect in all things before He made her, and He gives her life. But He is also subjectively beautiful, because He took the lowest and the small, and the chief of sinners, and made them His prized, priceless possession that will share in His eternal glory.

Read His book, see what He does for her, and then come and complain to me again about you preferences, if you dare. You are not here for yourself; you’re here for the purpose of making as much of Christ Jesus, the King of ages, the Bright and Morning Star, the Alpha and Omega; the One who has 280 names and descriptions in His autobiography, and they still fail to describe Him, because even they do not have limits.

Lust will tell you that what is expedient in life is: the visible, the immediate, the pragmatic, and what you prefer are all worthy of your thoughts when you pick up your iPhone to see the time early tomorrow morning. the Gospel tells you the Truth.

Now, do you think you have that? Don’t get excited. I want to get back to you on what lust actually turns up as; you might start getting mad at that point.