Things seem innocent enough where we may not distinguish a difference. If we are not taught that something is wrong, we will likely try it. But even when we are taught something is wrong, there is a small part of us that wants to partake in it anyway. As in life, anything that is fed usually grows. A baby starts off drinking a mother’s milk or formula. As they grow, it’s not enough to sustain the life of the child. In the same way, what we are feeding (our wants) tend to grow over time. Before we even realize it, they overtake us. In the busyness of our lives, we scratch our heads and wonder how we got to the point we are at.
We must analyze our lives, as if under a microscope, looking for harmful patterns and behaviors that affect our lives in a negative way. Thoroughly examine your wants and desires. The tendency is to minimize their importance. For example, a common saying I’ve heard is, “it’s ok to look, as long as I don’t touch!” That may be where it starts but not necessarily where it ends. Think of it as a seed that grows. It’s ridiculously small but if you water and nurture it, it will grow. By not uprooting the seed from the beginning, it has its roots planted deeply in your heart, making it harder to remove.
Matthew 5:28 issues a warning, which confronts that seed from the very beginning it was planted in our hearts. Jesus warns that if you even look at a woman with lust, it’s just as bad as going through with it in its physical form. What happens when the heart is no longer satisfied with looking? Trivial things often lead to bigger things. First, it may be as simple as seeing someone other than your spouse in an inappropriate way. Then, it becomes something altogether different and ends in broken relationships. If a person is single, it’s just as bad. They may feel they have no one to remain faithful to, so their eyes lust after anyone, fantasizing over who knows what. When they finally meet the love of their life, now that person must compete with a dirty Dave, a nasty Nancy, or goodness knows who else. (I’m so sorry if one of those names is yours, I wasn’t talking about you!) What was meant to be sacred is robbed of its cherished value, cheapened by insatiable desires that no one person could ever satisfy.
Quickly recognize when wants cross the line and become unhealthy desires. When they do, action must be taken to eliminate them from our lives before further damage is done. When something breaks, it doesn’t matter into how many pieces, it will never quite fit together the same way again. Broken trust is extremely difficult to regain. Lustful desire leads to a longing for that which we do not have. The urge can grow within until the most unspeakable atrocities are committed. It is easy to look at the people who do such things and condemn them as monsters. Recognize, they didn’t start out this way. They fed the wrong thing inside them until it took over. The heart is susceptible to wickedness in ways many of us cannot imagine. For this reason, we must exercise the power to say no to wrongful desires before they take us down a path we cannot come back from.