Random Blog Clay Feet: December 11, 2007
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Lust Counterfeit

Yesterday I was listening to some talks by Craig Hill while I was working and he gave a definition of lust which got me to thinking again about the big picture and how some of the puzzle pieces fit together. It occurred to me that lust is a counterfeit and anywhere there is a counterfeit then there is an exciting original waiting to come into use.

Craig says that lust is not what most people usually think of when they hear the word – a primarily sexual craving for something immoral. To view lust as always associated with sexuality is to restrict its meaning far too much and leave out many things which have a great deal of lust embedded in them. Lust is simply a strong desire, an intensity of emotion.

When he said this I immediately thought of what I have been learning about God's wrath. I have learned that what is termed God's wrath in the Bible is really His intense passionate love that is misconstrued and distorted through our misconceptions of Him so that we believe He is angry and vengeful toward us. The real truth is that it is not God who is angry at us (though He is very angry about what sin is doing to alienate us from Him) but it is the distortions caused by sin that create the illusion of great wrath in our minds when we catch a glimpse of the intensity of His passion for us.

One of the characteristics of God's love is that it is always “other-centered” and completely selfless. It thrives on giving life and love and joy to others and lives to enrich the life of all who will receive it. It has an enormous amount of passion behind it which is so far beyond our ability to imagine that it has to be veiled to protect us from its overwhelming intensity. But even the little that we do see we pervertedly believe is not love but is anger toward us. We have been so thoroughly saturated with the deceptions and lies of Satan about God that we are extremely resistant to believe the real truth about what God is like and how He feels toward us. But that very resistance is our greatest danger.

This is the original quality of God which is counterfeited by the feeling of lust promoted by sin. Lust too, has a great deal of passion and intensity within it just as God's love does. I remembered reading in My Utmost for His Highest a definition of lust that was very helpful to me and when I looked it up this morning I came across a number of different quotes about lust in that book that were very enlightening.

While being the counterfeit of real, passionate love, lust in many ways is opposite of love while being similar on the surface. Where love is passionately focused on selfless giving and blessing others, lust is plotting and scheming how to forcibly get life and pleasure and satisfaction for itself by every means possible. This is where the stark difference between the kingdom of God and the principles of Satan become very clear and obvious.

God designed the universe originally to live in complete trusting dependence on receiving blessings from God directly and through others and then spontaneously, selflessly, passionately giving to enrich others. There is no trace of selfishness in the life of a perfect mind functioning as it was originally designed. All creatures in heaven live to bless others and everything receives to give. It is not a forced relationship but a joyful bond of love and praise and gratitude that makes the heart thrive and swell with increasing love and happiness.

But in the emptiness of our hearts caused by our condition of sin, we mistakenly believe that we have to forcibly get life to fill our emptiness or we will soon suffer even more pain and die. We have been led to think that if we do not look out for ourselves and protect what little we have, then no one is going to look out for us, so we have to do everything possible to fill the aching void within us on our own. This is the basic lie of lust.

Lust means—I must have it at once. Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Who gives the answer.

Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest February 7.

When I picked up My Utmost and read today's reading I was reminded of what had come to my attention yesterday again. In this reading it was emphasized yet again this problem of the counterfeit of lust. I find it interesting that God brings these things to my attention just before I read them.

The shell of individuality is God’s created natural covering for the protection of the personal life; but individuality must go in order that the personal life may come out and be brought into fellowship with God. Individuality counterfeits personality as lust counterfeits love. God designed human nature for Himself; individuality debases human nature for itself.

The characteristics of individuality are independence and self-assertiveness. It is the continual assertion of individuality that hinders our spiritual life more than anything else. If you say—‘I cannot believe,’ it is because individuality never can believe. Personality cannot help believing.

Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest December 11.

Temptation is a suggested short cut to the realization of the highest at which I aim—not towards what I understand as evil, but towards what I understand as good. Temptation is something that completely baffles me for a while, I do not know whether the thing is right or wrong. Temptation yielded to is lust deified, and is a proof that it was timidity that prevented the sin before.

Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest September 17.

This reveals the nature of what the Bible refers to as our “flesh”; the part of our mind that offers its help to solve our problems, resolve our pain and bring life into our emptiness. It is always on our side, it claims to be working for our good and has our interest in mind. It seems to be our very identity for it has been with us since before birth. It is the most familiar part of our being and to deny it and choose another Source to meet our needs that is in conflict with our natural desires and ideas seems patently absurd.

It is the most logical thing in the world to look out for ourself, satisfy our own longings and work in any way possible to fill our own heart with anything and everything that looks like it will bring satisfaction and increased life. That is the basic motivation of every person on earth, but ironically it operates at the expense of those around us. It is the essence of lust and it underlies most of the violence and problems that we see in the world around us.

When I stop to analyze the deeper underlying motives behind much of what we do or are tempted to do, I begin to see that the real motives themselves are not nearly as wicked-looking as much of the activity that proceeds from them. We don't like to admit it because we want to believe that somehow people who do horrible, socially unacceptable things are more evil inside than the rest of us. But that is really not true. Every one of us contains the same virus even though most of us do not see its potential. But given the right circumstances and opportunities, if not checked or removed by the power of God the virus will flourish and produce the same fruit in our own lives as what we abhor in the lives of those we despise and condemn. In fact, the more condemnation we feel toward someone else's behavior the more likely we are to do the same, for the resonance that causes us to condemn them so intensely is the hidden lust within us that contains the seed to do the same.

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. (Romans 2:1 NRSV)

Are we openly doing the very same things? Probably not, at least at this point in time. But remember, reality is much more a condition of the heart than it is the perceptions of the externals going on around us. God sees things as they really are and He does not look on the externals, on how we keep up appearances, but on the state of our heart. And it is the same motive of lust in our heart that causes us to judge the fruit of that lust in someone else's life.

If considered carefully, the real motives behind most, if not all crimes and immorality is a deep craving to get some sort of life or satisfaction for one's self at the expense of someone else. The whole economy of the world revolves around this principle. We adore and “worship” the stars of entertainment because we crave the beauty and “happiness” that they portray to us in a subconscious hope that somehow a little will come into our life as a result. People commit sexual acts largely because they subconsciously are trying to bring into their own being the various aspects of beauty and life that they see in another, but it is at the expense of the other. Even acts of abuse, torture and murder if viewed from the deepest part of the psyche are attempts to forcibly extract life from someone else in a twisted attempt to feel more alive by being in control. The examples are endless.

A very interesting point in this area is the understanding that the main reason that cannibals eat other humans is not from motives of hatred but from a notion that if one partakes of the life-blood and certain organs of a more enlightened person then he could take into himself the desired attributes of that person. This kind of reasoning was much more clear in ancient and more primitive cultures where people would eat the heart of lions to become more brave and other such practices. These are all symptomatic of the same root false belief, that somehow by taking life from others, whether openly and violently or partially and subtly, that we can somehow increase the amount of life we possess ourself. It is the belief of the survival of the fittest, the very definition of Satan's modus operandi.

So it really comes down to a very simple choice that we have to make on a continual basis. We will either live to serve ourself first and follow the emotions and feelings and suggestions for getting life for ourself offered up by our flesh, or we will choose to die to self, to crucify the flesh and the lusts that it thrives on and look to the Spirit to led us as children of God and give us life from God.

We are always looking for life, and there is nothing wrong with that; it is hardwired into our very nature. We need life and blessing and nourishment in every area of our existence. But beyond that the choices we make as to how we are going to receive/get those needs fulfilled makes all the difference in the world.

The plan of salvation is provided to give us a way back to our original design so that we can be rewired to once again function in selfless harmony with the rest of creation. This is the transformation that comes from the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Or we can choose to trust in our own lust to get for us the things we need to survive but which ultimately bring pain and death to others and eventually to ourselves. The two options are mutually exclusive. We either live by the principle of grasping and working to save ourselves or we have to die to self and allow the selfless nature of the Son of God to dwell in our hearts and then live in the power of the resurrection each day.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)