“You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 NIV

Jesus first states the 7th commandment as something all his hearers know, then He elaborates on the heart issue. Adultery does not occur in a vacuum. It begins with thoughts, it begins with looks, it begins with attitudes – long before any action is taken.

For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. I John 2:16 NIV

You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Numbers 15:39 NIV

These verses tell us where lust begins. Our eyes see something we desire, and we begin to crave that something. Lust usually involves desiring another person for one’s own sexual gratification. Lustful desires are always presented as sinful (Colossians 3:5), of the world (I John 2:16), or even equated with bestial instincts (II Peter 2:12-18).

A person who lusts after another, selfishly desires that person – in order to own or consume him or her, not for giving them love. Lust does not elevate or encourage. Instead it puts down, it dehumanizes, it devalues the other person as simply an object to possess.

Paul lists lust in Colossians 3:5 as a sin to be removed from a Christian’s life. Then Paul goes on to describe how a Christian can rid himself of sins like lust. Paul uses an analogy of taking off old clothes (sins) and putting on new ones (godly virtues and values). Colossians 3:1-4:6 gives many instructions on how to submit to the Holy Spirit and live a God honoring life.

Jesus deplores our sinful actions, likewise is burdened by and even saddened by our sinful thoughts and attitudes which invariably can lead to wrong doing. As you read and pray the Lord’s prayer, examine your thoughts and attitudes. When the Spirit reveals your sinful thoughts and attitudes toward another person, confess it, repent and receive God’s forgiveness.