But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28
Jesus’s listeners were likely nodding their heads when he mentioned the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Every observant Jew would agree. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He tells them it isn’t enough just not to commit the physical act of adultery. In his kingdom, the heart matters. Lust is adultery of the heart. While many listening had probably never committed physical adultery, their thought life was a different deal. Jesus shows that obedience to this command is deeper and broader than what they believed.
What Jesus appears to mean by lust is a desire that leads us to covet (the word “lust” can be translated as “covet”). This message ties the seventh commandment to the tenth, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant…or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17). This isn’t a fleeting thought or a sudden glance. It’s an obsessive desire for someone while married to someone else or the ongoing, nursed wanting of someone married to someone else.
Our heart conditions are extremely important to Jesus. We must be cautious about what we want. Obsessively desiring someone who isn’t our spouse does not reflect God’s character.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Write Psalm 139:23 in your journal or on your mobile device. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Begin to memorize this verse and use it to rethink when you find your heart moving in the direction of lust and adultery. Grab our lock screen from yesterday to remind you all week.
NEW TESTAMENT READING PLAN
Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.
Today’s reading is Acts 28.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.