Contentment & Lust
Lust is 2 of the 3 categories of sins in the world (I John 2:16). Lust is any excess physical desire, rooted in the body (Romans 1:24). Lust feels good in the moment, but ultimately uses and controls us (Proverbs 11:6). The key to overcoming lust is being content with whatever God has given you (Philippians 4:11-13).
All Christians agree lust, sexual immorality, greed, and gluttony are bad, and that contentment is good.
Lust is not being content.
The definition of lust is an “excessive desire” or passion that controls you into thinking you need it (I Thessalonians 4:4-5). Anything good or bad can become lust (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Determining what is excessive is deciding if the action hurts or helps (I Thessalonians 4:5-6).
Contentment is realizing your blessings.
Lust’s cure is contentment: while lust manipulates you into need, contentment makes you need nothing (Philippians 4:11) by relying on Jesus (Philippians 4:12-13). Contentment is being happy with your own weaknesses, knowing that humbles you and allows God’s power to flow more easily (II Corinthians 12:10). No matter what you think you need, godliness is greater than all of that because only godliness follows you to the afterlife (I Timothy 6:6-7). Realize that whatever you are blessed with, it is enough to feel joyful (Philippians 4:4).
Examples of Lust
Sexual immorality is lust.
Desiring anyone sexually beyond the current or future one God has planned for you is considered the lust of sexual immorality (I Thessalonians 3:3-5). See our main article on lust.
Greed is lust.
Greed is overly desiring money, objects, and experiences to the point of hurting others (Proverbs 1:19), such as through theft and stealing (Mark 7:21). Soldiers felt that because the government deserved taxes they had the right to extort others, but Jesus said to be content with what you have because even the poor need to eat (Luke 3:14). Loving what money offers as you would a person causes great evil (I Timothy 6:10); so, be content with a God who is always with you (Hebrews 13:5).
Gluttony is lust.
Gluttony is desiring food or drinks to the point of becoming unhealthy or obese (Proverbs 23:20). While God does want us to enjoy eating (Ecclesiastes 2:24), too much of it will make us poor because the taste will never fully satisfy us (Proverbs 23:21).
Envy is lust.
Envy, also known as covetousness or lust of the eyes, is an excessive desire for something that someone else owns, the 10th Commandment (Exodus 20:17). Many people work just to have what someone else has (Ecclesiastes 4:4), but this will only hurt your physical and mental health (Proverbs 14:30). People can even do good things from envy (Philippians 1:15), but real love never envies (I Corinthians 13:4). Similarly, jealousy is desiring something that you own, and it’s not always bad (Exodus 34:14; II Corinthians 11:2). It becomes bad when you become jealous of something sinful, not heavenly (I Corinthians 3:3).
Laziness is lust.
Laziness, slothfulness, or being a sluggard is overly desiring rest (Proverbs 19:15; 6:9) because you have little motivation for life (Proverbs 13:4). Although rest is good (Matthew 11:28; Genesis 2:2-3), too much of it means you’re not being a good steward of God’s possessions that you are entrusted with (Ecclesiastes 10:18; Matthew 25:26-27), and you’ll be forced to do work you don’t like (Proverbs 12:24). This doesn’t mean we should always be working or feel overworked (Ecclesiastes 4:6; Exodus 18:14,18). We should work enough to be financially well-off (Proverbs 10:4) without trusting in our bank accounts (I Timothy 6:17; John 6:27). The way to determine if you are lazy or healthily resting is to ask yourself: do you like your work (Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 21:25) and are your base needs met (Proverbs 19:15; Ecclesiastes 10:18)?