Self–Critique: Love vs. Lust
As a kind of a personal conviction to correct my former bad theology I decided it was about time I critiqued and posted my old articles. This is to do two things in particular. Set the record straight that I was wrong and have repented and to give real world examples of how heretics or those generally deceived by such teachings teach them.
This was the very first article I wrote for the Devoblast newsletter. Titled “Love vs. Lust” in which I legalistically paint all romantic relationships outside of courtship or some divine appointment by God as sinful and unholy. Let’s get started.
Read Judges 13.
“Samson was stronger than your favorite wrestler, MMA fighter and weightlifter combined. However, like all men he had weaknesses. His first weakness was his hair, which symbolized his parents’ covenant with God. His second weakness was lust, which is desiring things contrary to God’s will. He threw it all away because of his lust for Delilah, who tricked him into revealing the source of his strength. Without God’s guidance in choosing a wife, he chose the wrong relationships repeatedly.”
I started strong with this but missed the forest for a tree. This article assumes two things right off the bat. Number one that all desires (I referred to it as lust in the original article) in of itself is sinful, but especially romantic desires. The second thing it assumes is that all relationships formed outside of divine intervention are questionable in terms of purity. Speaking of this six years after the fact I have to say I was a dumb kid. Desire to serve God is not actually sinful but is instead encouraged Biblically. Meaning there can be desires that are good. Second only a small portion of relationships were divinely influenced throughout the whole of history. If you are waiting on God to physically speak to you to tell you who your spouse is, get used to being single.
Updated Note 11/28/2017: When Writing both this and the previous article I thought lust referred to strong desires in general due to a Bible study I did that also taught it like that. After a quick definition lookup I realized that lust generally is always sexual in some way and had to change that. The word I would have used would be desire.
Something else that was noticeable was the idea that romantic attachments (I called it Samson’s lust) was a major weakness of Samson. I was only half right. Romantic desires are natural to humans as evidenced by the blessing at the beginning of creation, “be fruitful and multiply.” The issue is when these feelings eclipse the desire to serve and obey God then they become idolatrous lusts. Samson put his will before God and that was his weakness.
“God has someone for most of us but we have to listen to Him. Many people say love is something you can go in and out of but the true definition of love is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Please read God’s true definition of love.”
This is legalistic nonsense. The thing about language is that it the same word can be said in different contexts and mean different things. There is a romantic context, a familial context and a friendly context in which the word love can be used; the word is not limited to application to the “biblical definition.” Heck I could say I love Mtn. Dew it does not necessarily mean it would mean something different. Instead this passage gives instructions on how people should love one another in all three varying relationships.
“Make sure God really wants you to be with someone before you begin a relationship.”
How does one do this exactly? Aside from the basics of picking a spouse who believes in the basics of Christianity the Bible has nothing to say on it. Here’s what I have learned in the last six years, God made humanity competent enough to pick their own spouses. Atheists find spouses all the time and they don’t even believe in God. Is God omniscient? Yes. Could he tell you your spouse? Of course. Is he? I doubt it. This whole God wanting people to be together is nothing more than a Hollywood fairy tale painted to seem like Christian doctrine.
“One of the greatest influences in your life will be your spouse. My dad was a Catholic, who had quit going to church almost ten years before he married my mom. It did not happen right away but Mom got him to go back to church and now our whole family has a relation- ship with Jesus Christ and are involved in our church.”
This part is actually a good bit of advice. This has been shown throughout history. This is why the Bible teaches to find a spouse who is a Christian as well.
Side note: this story is slightly off. Reading the writings of Martin Luther is what brought my father back to the Church. It’s also, in his own words, what in recent months brought him back to the Catholic Church.
“Scripture says God is love. God doesn’t have love. He is love. Our purpose is to love God and be loved by God. As a 14 year old, I have struggled in this area like most other teenagers but my struggles have taught me that I need to be following God’s plan for my life not my plan for my life. Pursue love through God not lust away from God.”
Misapplication of the “God is Love” teaching. Not quite the Biblical purpose described in Acts 17:26 or Revelation 4:11 either. God created people to be competent enough to plan their own lives while applying the Biblical principle as well. I don’t even know how I would know what God has planned for my life, much less how to pursue it. Finally, to comment on the last sentence, humans are created with a longing to love one another (Generally in a romantic sense as referred to at the beginning of Genesis) as well that God put in them.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not con- form to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb with- out blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands for- ever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” –1 Peter 1:13-2:3 (NIV 1984)
Finally, proof–texting passages to support what I write. Basically, it ended up being used because it had the command to love one another which within the context of the rest of the article would support what I had written; or at least so I thought at the time.
This was an interesting and slightly painful article to write. Under bad influences in the past I had been taught to believe a lot of nonsense that I would have otherwise never believed. Not only that but I even went as far as to write and teach these things to others via the newsletter and personal one on one conversations which only ended up creating obstacles for the Christian mission. There are still many more articles to review and correct. In general I want to cover all articles that were not discernment based and even potentially until I became solely focused on discernment ministries. I hope this and any later article critique will help others come to a proper understanding of how God’s word gets mangled even by people who legitimately believe their incorrect theology and help them come to a better understanding of what the Bible actually teaches.