First of all, let’s define some key terms.
Attraction: something providing pleasure or delight, esp. in appearance or manner; pleasing; charming; fascinating; alluring or considerable; something capable of grabbing attention or being noticeable.
Lust: to have a yearning or desire; a passionate, overmastering, uncontrolled or illicit appetite for, or after something; to have a strong or excessive craving or desire for sexual gratification.
Please understand this–Though lust is most commonly associated with, it is not only commited when you undress a person sexually with your eyes. Lust is simply when you have an excessive appetite for just about anything. Lust can be an uncontrollable yearning for a cheeseburger, a new pair of shoes, masturbation, or even weed. Though you may not be lusting for sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite gender, just your uncontrollable and excessive desire to be in a relationship or even married to them could be considered lust, especially if God did not confirm to you that that was your ordained spouse. Take in mind, also, that even the love [greed, or lust] of money is the root of all kinds of evil. -1 Timothy 6:10. It all comes down to being straight up covetousness and idolatry.
There is a difference between being “attracted” to something or someone and “lusting” after something or someone. Attraction only requires you to NOTICE. Lust requires you to take a step further and to also DESIRE.
James 1:14 says each of us are tempted when we are dragged away by, or [notice] our own evil desires and enticed, or [turned on]. Then, after desire has conceived, then it gives birth to sin…
It’s not a sin to notice something, or in this case, someone who is attractive, neither is it a sin to be tempted. Jesus himself was tempted, and on EVERY SIDE, yet did not commit sin (Matthew 4:1, Hebrews 4:15). But it is, however, considered sin when you lust after them. If we don’t properly guard our hearts, our temptations can become an uncontrollable desire and we may soon become turned on by them, which will eventually cause us to conceive, or commit an act of sin.
Consider the story of Eve and the forbidden fruit. God had commanded Adam and Eve to NOT eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they will surely die. (Genesis 2:17) However, the serpent was cunning enough to be able to TEMPT or seduce Eve with the fruit. “Then the woman saw [noticed] that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing [attractive] to the eye…” (vs. 6). She found it attractive, but she didn’t sin against God, yet, because she didn’t eat, feed into or partake of what she was attracted to. But after being tempted long enough, she began to desire, and then she conceived. She saw that the fruit was “…also desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took some and ate it.” After her thought turned into an attraction, and her attraction turned into a lustful desire, she gave birth to sin in her heart (sin always starts out in the heart), and soon conceived an action, partaking of the forbidden fruit.
According to various “man made” dictionary definitions, a homosexual is a person who is merely attracted to members of his/her own sex. But Biblically, it’s not a sin for a female to notice that another female is pretty. Neither is it a sin for a man to notice that another man is handsome or to compliment his physical features. But it is a sin for him to desire to be with another man. It’s a sin for him to lust after another man, on purpose, with the intentions on being in a relationship or having sex with him. As long as he doesn’t act on his attraction and commit lust [desire], then he is not sinning. But even if he does just so happen to commit lust for another man, that is when he should practice “casting down all vain thoughts and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and make them obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
From a heterosexual perspective, if it was sinful for a straight man to look at or be attracted to a female, then he would be sinning all day every day, because there are many beautiful women that he will run across daily and be attracted to. However, if he denies his flesh daily, and keeps himself from lusting after her, then it’s okay for him to simply acknowledge that she is attractive. We all know our weaknesses or what triggers us. So we just have to guard ourself and set up boundaries so we won’t fall.
In Genesis 39:6-12 A man named Potiphar had a wife who was physically attracted to Joseph son of Jacob. The Bible said that Joseph was well-built and very handsome (vs.6) and when Potiphar’s wife noticed him, she opened her heart and grew a desire for him. Lust conceived when she asked him to sleep with her. Joseph denied her once, but she would seduce and beg him day after day after day to sleep with her, until one day Joseph had enough and ran out the house [away from the temptation], even leaving his clothes in her hand!
So though you know it’s okay to look, if you find yourself staring too hard and/or too long, then you might want to question your motives on why you’re looking at that person. You might be lusting. And definitely don’t “break your neck” trying to “look back at it.” Proverbs 6:25-28 says, “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. … Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” In the same manner, if you know that what you are looking at is a weakness for you and will inevitably cause you to lust, then don’t set yourself up to fail. Philippians 3:3 says “We who serve God by the Spirit, boast in Christ alone and put no confidence in the flesh.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 says “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”
When we come across a person who we know we may be tempted by, and if our eyes causes us to stumble, we need to look or walk away. Don’t always think that the temptation is going to go away. Sometimes, like Joseph, you may have to resist or flee from it! God isn’t just going to take every fine sister or brotha out of the world. Sometimes, you’re going to have to bear the fruit of self-control. Job 31:1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a virgin.” The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” That person may look a “10” or may be dressed provocatively, but it’s not always them that’s making you stumble, it’s sometimes just YOU. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind! (Romans 12:2)
And some of us may feel tempted to look at or desire the bodies of the same sex, because we are insecure with our own appearances and want to be like them. We look at the bodies of others of the same sex in inspiration and admiration, but because we don’t guard ourselves, it turns into an infactuation and lust. Don’t be jealous of them and don’t feel disappointed in yourself. The Bible says each of us are individually knitted together by the Lord in our mother’s womb. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God even numbers the very hairs on our head. (Matthew 10:30) So if you lust for longer or shorter hair, taller or shorter height, darker or lighter skin, a deeper or higher pitched voice, a fuller or smaller bust, a thicker or thinner waist line or buttocks, bigger or smaller genitals, or even the complete figure of another person in general, don’t. Be comfortable in who God called you to be and what he created you to look like. Be confident in your own skin because there is none like you. You are unique.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate or think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Above all, let us keep our eyes and our minds on Christ, by daily staying in his Word and in constant prayer. Christ is the annointed one who can break the addiction to lust if we denounce it and surrender it to him. When we make a conscious decision to trust in Jesus, he will keep us from falling into sin. Whenever you feel tempted to lust after someone, instead of thinking about their body, just think about what Jesus did on the cross for you. “A mind that remains on Christ is a mind that will remain in perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Be attracted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lust after holiness.
10 thoughts on “Physical Attraction vs. Sexual Lust”
Wow. This was so honestly, and beautifully written! Thank you so much for sharing the Biblical truth on this topic. I was planning on writing a post for my blog about attraction versus lust. This so perfectly said what I wanted to share, so I was wondering if you would be okay with me re-blogging this post? I would make sure others know you wrote it and include several links to your blog, quotations, etc. If you’re not comfortable with that I totally understand!
Hannah, I’m sorry for the late reply. I haven’t checked my messages in a long time. If you haven’t already, you may re-blog upon quoting me. Thank you for asking for permission. God bless you.
Thank you so much!
Jesus had a strong desire to have Passover with His disciples.
Surely no sin, yet in a sense seems to conflict with “There is a difference between being “attracted” to something or someone and “lusting” after something or someone. Attraction only requires you to NOTICE. Lust requires you to take a step further and to also DESIRE.”
That is a great question. Thanks for asking! The word ‘lust’ simply means to have a strong urge or desire for something. Lust, or desire is not always bad or sinful. There are some healthy things you can lust after, or desire–Jesus desiring to have Passover with His disciples being on of them.
But in this blog, I’m specifically referring to a sexual lust, or a sexual desire. There’s nothing wrong with looking at someone and finding them physically attractive. But when you start desiring to be with someone sexually, you have to be careful that your desire doesn’t become adultery in the heart. I hope that clarifies your question.
Love this! Very inspiring, thank you 🙂
Thank you beautifully written! I looked this up to help me explain last verses attraction to my children in a clear way, and this is very helpful. The insight to same sex attraction was incredible! In human woundedness you were able to bring out the unique way that we are created in God’s image and likeness. Thank you
Amen! To God be the glory! I’m glad that this blog was a blessing to you and a resource to share with your children!