Declare War on Lust!
The story is told of an ancient wrestling match that was particularly gruesome. Adrenaline flowed, because each man knew that if he lost the contest, his opponent would put his foot on his neck and call for a sword. He would then poke that sharpened sword into the eyes of his conquered foe.
Thereafter, the weaker wrestler would grope in blindness throughout the city as a public display of his defeat. This is a sobering introduction to the tremendous importance of Christ's next command.
“Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out ...”(Matthew 5:28-29).
It is unthinkable that a man would rip out his own eye. The intent of this command is that we make it equally unthinkable to lust after a woman. Satan would have us believe that what we secretly lust after in our hearts will have no real consequence to us or to anyone else. Yet, God Who created us is telling us that secret lust is so desperately serious that we must declare war on every lustful thought and take it captive.
Peter speaks of this war when he writes, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11). James explains the seriousness of this war as he asks, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" (James 4:1). Paul describes the war within our members in very understandable terms:
“I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members”(Romans 7:23).
After explaining the war, Paul exclaims, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Then he praises God because there is a way to victory through Jesus Christ. (See Romans7:25.)
Peter also relates lust to eyesight when he gives a list of qualities that, if developed, will conquer lust, but if missing, will cause us to be spiritually blind. (See II Peter 1:1-9.) The tragedy of Samson's lust after women is also a sobering testimony. He lost the war on lust, his freedom, his leadership, and then he had his eyes gouged out! (See Judges 16:20-21.)
The wrestler in our story may have been on his back, but as long as he had at least one shoulder above the mat the fight was not over. If we are prone to surrender to lustful thoughts, now is the time to declare war against the giant of lust. He is one of our greatest adversaries against daily success!
“And if thy right eye offend thee [concerning lust], pluck it out, and cast it from thee ...” (Matthew5:29-30).