Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the observation that when lust takes control, “At this moment God…loses all reality… Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.” What a world of wisdom there is in this statement! When we are in the grip of lust, the reality of God fades… This is what lust does! It has done it millions of times. God disappears to lust-glazed eyes.
Most men are stimulated by sight. Without even touching a woman’s body, a man can be aroused. It can happen very easily. Perhaps this is why Jesus warned men about the danger of looking on women who are not their wives (Matthew 5:28). Perhaps it is because men are easily aroused that the book of Proverbs contains admonition after admonition to men concerning the danger of being seduced by loose women (Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:23-35; 7:1-27).
“Self” is at the center of our lusts – our supposed needs for significance, worth, security, identity, or esteem. A psychologized, man-centered view of God and of man appeals to our natural sense of loving ourselves and thus deceives us.
The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but in the fact that we want it too much. Natural affections (for any good thing) become inordinate, ruling cravings. We are meant to be ruled by godly passions and desires. Natural desires for good things are meant to exist subordinate to our desire to please the Giver of gifts. Grasping that the evil lies in the ruling status of the desire, not the object, is frequently a turning point in self-understanding, in seeing the need for Christ’s mercies, and in changing.
The process of lust is simple. It begins with attraction, it turns quickly to dissatisfaction with your current situation – you become dissatisfied with your spouse or with the one that you are supposedly in love with – it moves to fixation on another and you become ungrateful, discontented, and obsessive. You become filled with lust, and your thoughts and your mind are filled with images of the other person. You have nothing on your mind but an appetite for them. This person becomes on object of worship. They eventually are not even considered a person, because they’re an object, and you’re just looking for satisfaction. Gentlemen, this is classic idolatry!