Talks By Ed Tarkowski


Part 5: LUST

Lust - A strong desire for someone or something, energized by uncontrollable wants that one intends to satisfy at any cost.

LUST 1939. epithumia, ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah; from G1937; a longing (espec. for what is forbidden):--concupiscence, desire, lust (after).

"Lust is a longing for what is forbidden."

LUST ROOT 1937. epithumeo, ep-ee-thoo-meh'-o; from G1909 and G2372; to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise):--covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).

1909. epi, ep-ee'; a prim. prep. prop. mean. superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the gen.], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dat.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the acc.) towards, upon, etc.:--about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside, X have charge of, (be-, [where-]) fore, in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-) on (behalf of) over, (by, for) the space of, through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), with. In compounds it retains essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (lit. or fig.)..

"To . . . long for rightly or otherwise . . . covet."

2372. thumos, thoo-mos'; from G2380; passion (as if breathing hard):--fierceness, indignation, wrath. Comp. G5590..

To covet with a passion as if breathing hard, and it's a passion that is ingrained with indignation and wrath.

2380. thuo, thoo'-o; a prim. verb; prop. to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), i.e. (by impl.) to sacrifice (prop. by fire, but gen.); by extens. to immolate (slaughter for any purpose):--kill, (do) sacrifice, slay..

To covet something that is forbidden to the point that one would be driven to kill to get it.

Holman's Bible Dictionary

LUST In contemporary usage, a strong craving or desire, especially sexual desire. KJV and earlier English versions frequently used lust in the neutral sense of desire. This older English usage corresponded to the use of the underlying Hebrew and Greek terms which could be used in a positive sense: of the desire of the righteous (Prov. 10:24), of Christ's desire to eat the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:15), or of Paul's desire to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). Since lust has taken on the primary meaning of sexual desire, modern translations often replace the KJV's lust with a term with a different nuance. NRSV, for example, used crave/craving (Num. 11:34; Ps. 78:18); covet (Rom. 7:7); desire (Ex. 15:9; Prov. 6:25; 1 Cor. 10:6); long for (Rev. 18:14). The unregenerate (preconversion) life is governed by deceitful lusts or desires (Eph. 4:22; 2:3; Col. 3:5; Tit. 2:12). Following conversion, such fleshly desires compete for control of the individual with spiritual desires (Gal. 5:16-17; 2 Tim. 2:22). First John 2:16-17 warns that desires of the flesh and eyes are not from God and will pass away with the sinful world. Here lust or desire includes not only sexual desire but also other vices such as materialism. James 1:14-15 warns that desire is the beginning of all sin and results in death. Jesus warned that one who lusts has already sinned (Matt. 5:28). Part of God's judgment on sin is to give persons over to their own desires (Rom. 1:24). Only the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer makes victory over sinful desires possible (Rom. 8:1-2)..

Usually we hear teaching about lust as sexual desires or earthly goods, not coveting another's wife or goods, or about men doing unnatural things with men, as in Romans 1, but I want to look at it on a little wider scale, so we don't think that if we don't do these things, we are free from lust.

Lust, as shown in the last definition of one of the root words means to long for with such an intensity that one would slaughter for any purpose with fierceness, indignation and wrath to get what he wants. Lust, in one sense, is envy or jealousy in action. The classic example is David and Bathsheba:

2 Sam 11:2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon..

We said, "one would slaughter for any purpose with fierceness, indignation and wrath to get what he wants. Lust, in one sense, is envy or jealousy in action." This was true of David:

2 Sam 11:15 And he [David] wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah [Bathsheba's husband] in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die..

Lust is, indeed, a very deadly sin.

And Exodus 15:9 gives a good idea of what is meant by lust and satisfying it:

Exo 15:9 KJV "The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.".

Lust Is An Internal Breaking Of God's Commandments

Paul said he kept the OUTWARD commandments - Thu shalt not steal, Thou shalt not kill, etc. - but when it came to the two commandments that pointed to the heart or the inward parts of man, Paul said he saw the truth of what he was - a sinner. He could keep the commandment, but it was in the two that said "Thou shall not covet" that he was convicted that he fell short of God's glory:

Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet..

Lust Demands Satisfaction

Lust demands satisfaction, and in Psalm 78 is the worst form of lust, the most abominable form:

Psa 78:18 KJV "And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. . . . ..

Israel got from God the wondrous miracle of manna in the dessert, and the people cried, "Manna? We want meat! We have to gather this stuff everyday. What a drag! Meat! We want meat!"

Psa 78:30 KJV They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. 32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works..

How often do we think we hear God about wonderful things and provisions, and our hearts begin to desire it very badly, but then, when it comes, it isn't what we wanted, that there was something better He could have provided according to our expectation.

Lust Brings Forth Death

Israel grumbled at God through Moses out of their lust for meat. The lust of the flesh is the match that ignites anger and the tongue as fire. Self-gratification is one of the catalysts of lust. Gluttony or self-indulgence is bondage's freedom to do as one will. Gluttony brings forth slothfulness and poverty, and opens the door for the envy. When one's provision runs out, envy surfaces to want what others have to continue in that self-gratification. Self must be pleased, at any cost, and envy then turns to lust because of lack filled with strong desire, and one even kills to get what he wants, be it a physical or spiritual death. It is all fueled by pride, the sin of the devil, who comes to steal, kill and destroy. Listen to those three words again: steal, kill and destroy. What is the power that would cause a being to steal, kill and destroy to get what he wants at any cost? Lust. For instance, the devil lusts for worship, to be as God, to have what He has. Listen to the accompanying words used in this verse about lust:

James 4:2 KJV "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.".

Kill, war, fight . . . Do you see in this verse the words STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY? Lust keeps very dark company; it manifests these things to get what it wants. Where lust is, death of some sort is not far behind.

James 1:14-15 KJV "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.".

These realities are expressed very powerfully in the epistle to James:

James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 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. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up..

The Israelites grumbled against God because of their lust for meat to please self. They killed His provision, they killed their relationship with Him, and He killed their best men in return, and Paul says,

1 Cor 10:6 KJV "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.".

What are these evil things in this case? Those things which we want that make us grumble against what God does provide. That's why Paul said,

Rom 7:7 KJV "What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.".

Paul knew what it was to covet, but he learned not to. He learned to be content in all circumstances, to be grateful to God alone for what he was given. Paul said,

Phil 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

John wrote,

1 John 2:16-17 KJV "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. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.".

What are we supposed to be like in relation to lusting after things or people:

2 Pet 1:4 KJV "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.".


The Christian must learn to rest in the fact that God wants us to be content in all things. To relegate lust to sexual sin alone leaves us wide open for deception, because lust includes a quest for other things, such as power, control, the worlds good and the like. So often we ask when God knows our needs and we need to learn to ask according to His will and be content according to what He provides.

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