Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s on the sin of lust

Hebrews 12:1-  (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The following is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Temptation:

calls a man"In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce.  With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh.  All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled.  The flesh burns and is in flames.  It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, our love of fame and power, or greed for money…"

"At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real.  The only reality is the devil.  Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…  The lust thus aroused  envelopes the mind and will of a man in deepest darkness.  The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.  The questions present themselves as, ” Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” And, ” Is it really not permitted me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?'"

silence"It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God….  Therefore the Bible teaches us in times of temptation in the flesh, there is one command:  Flee!  Flee fornication.  Flee idolatry.  Flee youthful lusts.  Flee the lusts of the world.  There is no resistance to Satan in lust other than flight.  Every struggle against lust in one’s own strength is doomed to failure."

“The essence of chastity is not the suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one's life towards a goal. Without such a goal, chastity is bound to become ridiculous. Chastity is the sine qua non of lucidity and concentration.”

"No sacrifice is too great if it causes us to conquer a lust which cuts us off from Jesus. Both eye and hand are less than Christ, and when they are used as the instruments of lust and hinder the whole body from the purity of discipleship, they must be sacrificed for the sake of Him. The gains of lust are trivial compared with the loss it brings – you forfeit your body eternally for the momentary pleasure of eye or hand. When you have made your eye the instrument of impurity, you cannot see God with it."

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As a men's ministry leader (and Elder) I find it very interesting to watch different guys and there walks (and some without their walks walking aimlessly and without direction looking to find God's will for their lives, without being in the Word or praying for God's will in our life).  What surprises me most are men that are at peace with mediocrity:

  • In a marriage that is just coasting instead of healthy and vibrant
  • In a marriage that is lacking friendship, intimacy and security and trust
  • In a job that is not God-honoring (meaning that the man (employee) is not serving God instead of serving his self
  • In a family that he is completely disconnected with
  • In a church or community that he is just going through the motions with

I do not have the statistics on me this evening, but talking with my wife a while back, there were studies on marriages that were either flailing (failing or downright dead) and the couples that stuck through it, got counseling and worked on their communication were 5 times happier than couples that ended in divorce and were left wanting (hurting and remorseful).

The thing about sin (lust, temptation and desire) is that at that "moment" or time when we are called to flee and instead finding ourselves sticking around the temptation the positive results are never positive and I don't care who you are that says otherwise.  I will stand on scripture and believe that God's ways and his plan for the abundant life far outweighs our knowledge (the world's knowledge) on what we should do for ourselves.  Scripture is clear:  FLEE (Run, Move quickly, do not be slow, GET AWAY NOW) from the temptation of sin.

I love the men and saints who have come before us who have been deeply rooted in scripture and the study thereof.  They may or may not be smarter than us in this current day, but they have put the miles in on their relationship with God and His word and prayer.  They have been battled (spiritual) tested (in Dietrich's case:  both spiritually and physically at war) and have left great thoughts and writings (paved the way for us to go).

We can choose two things in life:

  • Our attitude
  • Whom we will serve

As for me and my house, we choose to serve the Lord.

Blessings,

Dante