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Commands of Christ

Do Not Lust

Where is this command found?

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Matthew 5:27-30

Applying This Command

Have you ever considered the consequences of adultery? What about the staggering effects it has on the relationships of those involved? As significant as these things are, the act of adultery and its consequences are only a byproduct of a problem that lies much deeper within a person’s heart.

When Jesus addresses adultery in Matthew 5:37-40, He quickly cuts to where the real problem lies: lust in the heart. Lust is setting the heart on, and having a burning desire for things outside of the bounds of what God has intended. When we harbor lust in our hearts, lust becomes sin and sin leads to death (see James 1:15).

So what is the cure for a lustful heart? The Cross of Jesus! By putting to death our sinful nature, Christ’s work on the Cross set us free from the bondage of lust (see Romans 6). In order to walk in this freedom that Christ has given us, we must daily engraft these truths found in God’s Word by hiding His Word within our heart.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 5:29–30, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Do Not Lust.

James 1:14–15

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

James 4:4

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Romans 6:11

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

II Timothy 2:22

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Galatians 6:8

“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

I John 2:16

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Related Episodes

From the Podcast

Dive deeper into the command Do Not Lust with these episodes from the Commands of Christ podcast!

Study Question

Q: Since losing one eye or one hand will not conquer lust, why did Jesus give such a command?

A: This command is not to be taken literally, but rather figuratively, because if Jesus had wanted to stop men from lusting, He would have instructed that both eyes be removed. Yet, even without eyes, men lust with their hearts.

It is through our eye “gate” that we receive the images and signals that direct our hands and feet. The right eye influences the entire body and is usually the dominant eye. Jesus emphasized the power and importance of the eye when He said, “The light of the body is the eye” (Matthew 6:22).

The greatest damage that comes as a result of lusting with our eyes is that we train them to focus on the delusions of immorality and become spiritually blind to the realities of life. This blindness allows us to rush headlong into sin, ignoring the consequences of our actions. (See James 1:14–15.) The term right hand is rich with symbolic meaning. It represents one’s honor, authority, power, protection, and security (see Acts 5:31; Romans 8:34; Luke 22:69; Psalm 20:6, 16:8). These important qualities are lost or damaged when we lust.

Jesus used this analogy to communicate the important truth that the damage we do to others and ourselves when we lust is far greater than any limitations that would come with the loss of a right eye or right hand.

But how can we teach our eyes not to lust? If we fully dedicate our eyes, hands, and heart to the Lord (Romans 12:1–2), we will be able to die daily to the lusts of the flesh. We can also make a covenant with both eyes (Job 31:1), training them to see women as Jesus saw them (Hebrews 4:15–16).

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