Esoteric Wisdom

Spiritual Consequences of Lust: The Thrust that Results in Hurts and Moral Corruption

Lust is a strong sexual desire that is often considered a sin in many religions and spiritual traditions. Jesus taught that sinful thoughts, like lust, defile you from within.

“He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’”

Mark 7:20-23

Your thoughts influence your actions. Allowing lust to take root internally increases the likelihood it will outwardly manifest in sinful behaviors.

What you consume through your eyes and mind shapes your character. Just as healthy food nourishes your physical body, purity and virtue nourish your spirit. But lust poisons your soul with unwholesome desires that lead to sin and death when fully grown. It wars against your true identity as a child of God.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

James 1:15

What is Lust?

At its core, lust is an intense longing or craving, often of a sexual nature. It is an inordinate desire that goes beyond simple attraction and appreciation for God’s creation. Instead, lust objectifies and dehumanizes, reducing people to mere objects for selfish gratification.

When you lust after someone, you are not seeing them as a whole person made in the image of God, but rather as a means to fulfill your own carnal desires.

Lust is often fueled by visual stimulation, whether it be through pornography, provocative media, or simply allowing your eyes and thoughts to linger inappropriately on others. Jesus warned about the dangers of lust when he said:

“Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:28

This shows that lust is not just about physical actions, but the condition of your heart before God. Lustful thoughts tend to be repetitive and difficult to control. They can consume your mind and dominate your behavior. Lust is often accompanied by other sins like adultery, pornography, masturbation, fornication, and more.

The Differences Between Love and Lust

When it comes to matters of the heart, it’s easy to confuse lust and love. Both emotions can be intense, all-consuming, and leave you feeling euphoric. However, there are crucial differences between the two that you need to understand:

AreaLustLove
MotivationLust is about physical gratificationLove emphasizes emotional/spiritual intimacy
FocusLust focuses on physical desire, attraction, and fantasyLove appreciates the whole person and their authentic essence
Self-perspectiveLust is self-centeredLove is mutual caring
DurationLust is temporary and fades quickly after sex or conquestLove is potentially lifelong
CommitmentLust lacks devotion and is oriented toward casual, one-night-stand relationshipLove involves committed monogamy and is oriented toward long-term relationship
CommunicationLust has superficial communicationLove has deep communication and sharing
SacrificeLust requires little or no sacrificeLove requires sacrifice of selfishness
PatienceLust wants instant gratificationLove is patient and grows over time
Gut feelingLust is driven by adrenaline and hormonesLove has a calm feeling and spiritual root

Spiritual Consequences of Lust

1. Lust Can Damage Your Connection with God

One of the greatest spiritual dangers of lust is that it damages your relationship with God. When you fill your mind with impure thoughts, you distance yourself from God’s presence. Rather than dwelling on what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), you meditate on what is immoral.

This creates a wall between you and the Lord. You may avoid prayer and reading Scripture because you feel ashamed. But this only increases the separation.

When you allow lustful thoughts and desires to consume you, you are no longer walking in step with the Holy Spirit, but rather gratifying the sinful cravings of your flesh. The Bible warns that those who live according to the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8).

Lust rarely remains in the realm of fantasy – it seeks fulfillment through actions like pornography use, masturbation, sexual immorality, and sex before marriage. You may end up confused about God’s spiritual design to unite husband and wife. What starts as a seemingly “harmless” lustful thought can quickly spiral into an addiction that controls and destroys.

Lust breeds selfishness rather than selflessness. When you objectify others for your own gratification, you are no longer loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). Instead of serving and blessing others, a lustful mindset can cause you to use and take advantage of others to get what you want. This is the antithesis of God’s command to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34).

Intimacy with God involves repentance and honesty. If lust overtakes you, it’s important to be self-reflective and seek redemption through righteous actions. Never let it grow in ignorance, which is the inability to think about the consequences of your actions.

2. Lust Can Destroy Your Marriage

The spiritual consequences of lust reach far beyond your personal relationship with God. Lust can destroy your marriage, family, and ministry. It erodes trust, intimacy, and faithfulness. Many pastors and spiritual leaders have shipwrecked their faith and disqualified themselves from ministry because they allowed lust to take hold in their lives.

Lust is also deeply hurtful to your loved ones. When a husband continually lusts after other women, it devastates his wife and makes her feel unvalued, unwanted, and insecure. When a wife desires to wear revealing clothes, she incites the same effect on her husband as he lusts after another woman.

Children are scarred by parents whose lustful choices lead to broken trust and a fractured home life. They suffer from confusion, moral corruption, and misconduct when their parents betray their marriage covenant. Your private sin of lust is never truly private – it overflows into every other area of your life.

Even if your lustful choices may not progress to the point of physical infidelity, they will still erode your character and integrity. Lust is a form of falsehood that presents a façade of innocent pleasure while a very different reality festers underneath. Over time, this duplicity will eat away your soul and harden your heart towards God.

3. Lust Can Erode Genuine Intimacy

Lustful intentions cannot coexist with true intimacy. The objectification and selfishness inherent in lust can kill authentic connection. Reducing people to objects for gratification damages how you relate to others and yourself. Rather than cherishing their humanity, dignity, and personality, lust craves to use people for pleasure.

This prevents any depth of intimacy in relationships. Lust may temporarily thrill, but it always disappoints. It skips past the friendship, care, sacrifice, and respect that build loving bonds. When ruled by lust, you view others as a means to an end. But its grasp for satisfaction always misses real fulfillment. Healing comes as you value others as whole people worthy of honor, not objects to consume and self-satisfy.

4. Lust May Supplant Healthy Desire

Lust often disguises as a healthy sexual desire, but the two are distinctly different. Healthy desire honors God’s design for sex within marriage. It focuses on selfless giving and complementing your spouse. There is a sense of patience, self-restraint, and mutual fulfillment.

But lust is impatient, demanding, and deceptive. It wants instant gratification and control. Rather than emphasizing your spouse’s happiness, lust fixates on your own pleasure.

5. Lust Can Fuel Bondage

Giving in to lust sets you on a slippery slope that demands more and more to be satisfied. There is no stopping point. Like an addiction, it often leads to more destructive thoughts and behaviors. Small compromises of your bad habits can gradually dull your conscience and ability to resist.

King David’s story highlights this progressive downhill slide. Your glancing could turn into lusting after someone which turns into adultery and murder. One improper thought is all it takes, and one indiscretion can lead to another. What starts as an impure desire can turn into a raging fire of scandalous sins.

Jesus once said about adultery:

“If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, 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 go into hell.”

Matthew 5: 29-30

Rather than assuming you can dabble in lust without harm, you need to set clear boundaries. Self-restraint today will prevent major regret tomorrow.

6. Lust Can Diminish Peace and Contentment

You may think chasing lust promises excitement and satisfaction. But in reality, it leaves you restless and dissatisfied. You find yourself on a thrill-seeking merry-go-round searching for the next brief pleasure to quench insatiable desires that always return. Momentary gratification gives way to emptiness.

True peace and lasting contentment only arise from within, from nurturing your own spiritual health. As you abide in Christ, filling your mind with His truth, you gain discernment to reject lust’s empty promises. You embrace God’s design for healthy relationships and sexuality. You find joy in selfless service rather than selfish consumption. Fulfillment flows from eternal communion with God, not temporary sensual highs.