“Lust” is one of those words that feels strange coming out of my mouth. Lust is almost always painted in a negative light. It’s an intense desire…a craving. You can lust after something or someone, you can lust for knowledge or power, you can lust after someone else’s chocolate bar…is just one of those words. Lust is something that every religion has something to say about. It’s in the Bible. It’s considered to be one of the seven deadly sins. It’s kind of a big deal.
If you Google “lust”, you’ll find the word mostly used in a sexual, physical context. Lust vs. Love, poems about lust, lust and desire…the list goes on and on. It seems to be something everyone faces. Right?
Lust isn’t some low-brow emotion that only non-Christians feel. Lust is something that is spoken about in a lot of churches with a “we don’t experience that” attitude, but that’s a lie of the devil. Thinking that we, as Christians, are above feeling lust in a physical or emotional context is one of the world’s great lies.
Lust in this context automatically makes me think of the ever popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” series. I know a lot of people who have read this series and I also know a lot of people who don’t have a clue what these books are really about. Romance novels have been around for the last 50 years or so, but never has a romantic fantasy book taken off in such a way as this particular series. Why? What’s so different about it?
This series has permeated our culture in many ways. In our sex-saturated world that’s obsessed with sexual fantasies, these books found a hook. The song “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull has lyrics that say, “She read books, especially about red rooms and tie ups/I got her hooked, Cause she seen me in a suit with the red tie tied up.” Those lyrics are a direct reference to this popular book series.
I’m a curious person. I love reading. I like being able to participate in conversations. Naturally, I started reading this series to see what all the hype was about. I didn’t even make it halfway through the first book before I called Amazon and asked for a refund for the Kindle copy I had purchased. (Read the synopsis here.)
When I decided to read it, and I’ll admit that I knew what the basic premise was, I thought of all the girls I knew that raved about it and never thought it would be as toxic as it was. My first thoughts about the character Anastasia is that she has a pretty messed up notion of what love is. When I read the synopsis for the other books in the series, I realized that her idea of love continues and the storyline ends “happily.”
This is incredibly disheartening. The character finds worth in a rich, handsome man wanting her. She finds worth in the idea that her love can change his twisted ways. That’s not love. This series is all about lust and becoming slaves to lustful desires. This is not the life that God intended for His children. We are worth more – deserve more.
I’m not saying we’re supposed to feel guilty about every little sexual thought.In a lot of ways, we’re teaching kids to be afraid of sex, then they get curious and it all hits the fan. Conversations are key. Safe places are so important for this particular topic of conversation. Someone has to tell young, teenage girls that love is more than sex. Someone has to teach girls what God says about them. Otherwise, they’re going to get swept up in this toxic culture and fight battles the rest of their lives.
Capturing thoughts. That’s what we should be focusing on. 2 Corinthians 10:6 talks about capturing our thoughts and making them obey Christ. I’m so visual that when I read that verse I imagine grabbing a strand of thought (very Harry Potter-esque), twisting it around, and forcing it to go the other direction. We have complete control over our thoughts. (“The Fantasy Fallacy” by Shannon Ethridge is an amazing book that talks a lot about the different kinds of sexual thoughts. You should check it out if you find this topic as interesting as I do.)
We have complete control over our thoughts.
We have complete control over our thoughts.
That’s so important for us to remember. It’s so easy for us to blame the devil for “putting” a thought into our heads, but we forget that we’re capable of shutting those thoughts down. Galatians 5:16 says that when we walk with the Spirit, we won’t gratify the desires of the flesh. Meaning, we won’t give the sinful body the sinful satisfaction it craves.
I haven’t even scratched the surface with this topic. Again, if you want to read more about the different kinds of sexual thoughts you should read “The Fantasy Fallacy” by Shannon Ethridge. I can’t rave enough about it.
Advice from an [unmentionables] collaborator: “Don’t hide from or try to avoid temptations that occur with dating. The more one denies it, the more likely that person will be taken by it by surprise and fall into it when the temptation is at its peak.”
[next up: a guest post!]
*Disclaimer: This is not intended to review the “Fifty Shades” series or judge those who have read it. I’m not the judgement type. This is merely my thought process.