Lust and Idolatry – A Deadly Combination

Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV)
“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

It is not uncommon for these two sinful behaviors to run side-by-side in our lives. We experience idolatrous behavior whenever we become dependent upon certain aspects of life or creation and place it above the worship of God. Longing for something created, we can easily become separated from God. In Jeremiah 2:13, the prophet reveals God’s distress in how His people have turned from him, the very spring of living water, only to fashion their own broken cisterns that cannot withstand the test of time. God no longer was the solution, for the people attempted to make their own way.

Regardless of what or who we put in front of God, when we freely choose to relegate our Creator to a lesser priority in our lives, idolatry is given birth in our hearts which can bring forth lust through the longing for this object.

If we become blinded to our actions of idolatry, a vicious cycle can begin where we feel God no longer hears our prayers (due to an unrepentant heart), while we ignore His discipline which will further erode into more sin and separation from Him. It will continue until we either: reach a stage of complete brokenness and repent; or we become immune to His pleas to change our ways and abandon Him completely to a heart full of idolatrous lust.

The lust for this behavior—and it need not just be sexual lust, but any wrongful yearning—becomes so dominant that we willingly sin further just to obtain it and to keep it above all other things in our heart. How easy do we let go of our morality by concealing to others such longings? It is a downward spiral that can quickly cause deep, emotional harm to our loved ones—all born out of selfish behavior.

If we are really adept at such transgressions, we become masters of compartmentalization. We can still gleefully attend church and enjoy hearing the Word, yet remain so dark within. We quickly become numb to the Truth, oblivious to the downfall. Obedience to God gives way to lustful idolatry (Matthew 6:21).

At this point, Satan owns us. We only hear the cravings of the world and the potential for more temptation. Instead of delighting in God’s Word, we delight in what the world can give us. In essence, we bow down (idolatry) to what we feel will bring us treasure in place of the living God; we worship (lust) the created over the Creator (Romans 1:18-32; Galatians 5:16-21).

So how can we break free?

First, we must recognize the desires or cravings that have taken over your life and come to terms with the fact that this behavior is wrong but that it must stop immediately.

Second, we must let go of our pride that tells us that we can remedy this ourselves. This is not the time for the belief that “I got myself into this mess, so I can get myself out of it!”

Third, when we admit we need help, we must turn to the One who can change us. We must approach God with confession born from a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17), earnestly repent (turn away from), and actively work to replace all inner darkness with the Light of His Word.

Fourth, we must also recognize our susceptibility in this area and realize that in order for this change to be permanent, God must be priority in our life and this can only be done by committing yourself to DAILY study and prayer.

Finally, recognize the daily battle and keep your heart guarded (Proverbs 4:23-27). Put on the whole Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and live your life, seeking His will, with every fiber of your being.