#60: Desire vs. Lust, Protecting Daughters, Military
INSTRUCTED by the Scriptures, LED by the Spirit
Bold Christian Living E-Mail Newsletter, Issue #60
� 1999 Jonathan Lindvall
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In response to the last issue of the newsletter, a brother raised the
question of the distinction between appropriate DESIRES and ungodly
LUST. He wrote:
> OK: What is the difference between sexual desire and sexual lust? IThat's a good point. I don't believe very many people feel I "avoid this
> am not being prurient, and I certainly have my own answers, but I
> respectfully submit that you can't avoid this issue. Otherwise you make
> sexuality into the enemy of spirituality.
issue." In my seminar presentations on the topic of romance, I always
begin with the foundation that marital intimacy is good, holy,
beautiful, and utterly pleasing to God.
Scripturally, there is no distinction between "lust" and "desire." For
example, when Jesus said (Matt. 5:28), "But I say to you that whoever
looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her
in his heart" the word that is translated "lust" is the Greek word
/"epithumeo"/. In his famous passage on moral purity, that I find
helpful in arguing against the practice of dating (1 Thes. 4:3-5), Paul
used the variant /"epithumia"/ in saying, "For this is the will of God,
your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;
that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in
sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who
do not know God." The word translated "lust" here is /"epithumia"/.
Interestingly, Jesus Himself claimed to "lust" (in an obviously
appropriate way). In Luke 22:15 He told his disciples, "With fervent
desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."
The phrase "fervent desire" here is the same Greek word, /"epithumia"/.
But then He also said He "desired" (/"epithumeo"/) to eat the Passover.
Both of these similar words translated "lust" were things our Master
claimed to experience.
Lust itself is not evil in its right place. In Luke 17:22 Jesus tells us
we will /"epithumeo"/ for the Lord Himself. In Matthew 13:17 He said
that "prophets and righteous men" of old experienced /"epithumia"/ for
the things revealed in Him. Clearly that's appropriate. In Luke 16:21,
Lazarus had /"epithumeo"/ for the crumbs from the rich man's table. We
all have experienced hunger for food, which is not necessarily
inappropriate. Galatians 5:17 tells us that "the flesh lusts against the
Spirit" (/"epithumeo"/), but the Spirit has the same /"epithumeo"/
against the flesh.
Lust, or desire, is God-created. However, like any appetite, desire for
physical intimacy must be controlled. If a person allows his appetite
for food to consume him, control him, or even be fill his mind
inappropriately, this lust becomes sin. Similarly, when Paul told
Timothy (2 Tim. 2:22) to "Flee also youthful lusts" (/"epithumia"/), he
seemed to be encouraging single people (youth?) to keep from allowing
these desires to be cultivated or expressed.
For a thorough discussion of God's design for both physical and
(especially) emotional purity, we offer a three audio tape series
entitled "Scriptural Romance" ($17). This album includes Tapes #903
"Youthful Romance: The Dangers of Dating," #906 "Scriptural Betrothal:
God's Pattern for Youthful Romance," and #907 "Shamefaced Romance."
On a totally different topic, a family wrote about an unexpected
vulnerability their daughter is facing. I believe we have a special
mandate to PROTECT DAUGHTERS. Perhaps before reading my response, why
don't you pause and ask yourself, How would I deal with this question?
>Several generations ago, a father's responsibility (and right) to
> Now, a question for you. What would you do if your 19 year old daughter
> received a summons for jury duty in the district court? Ours has, and
> not only will this be very inconvenient, especially as this particular
> court is located in a downtown area in a large city at a distance from
> us, but also we are aware that the types of cases that she is likely to
> be exposed to may be distressing or even defiling. I suppose this
> could have been avoided by never allowing her to become a registered
> voter--live and learn!
protect his wife and daughters was generally assumed and acknowledged in
our legal system. It would have been unthinkable for a woman to be
compelled to participate in legal proceedings, without her father's (or
in the case of a married woman, husband's) involvement. I understand in
many situations women could not even be directly arrested, until
permission of their father or husband was acquired. True, a husband or
father then became liable for his wife's/daughter's actions. But the
principle of Numbers 30 (male protection over women) was honored.
Today, because of our radical embrace of individualism (which leads to
feminism), our culture has undercut our ability to protect family
members. In my estimation, Christian families who see this, need to
rethink our participation in many of society's typical structures in
order to maintain (and reclaim) scriptural family corporate identity.
I shudder to think of my 19-year-old daughter being called for jury duty
(much more, drafted into the military). How can I protect her from this
virtual inevitability, if she becomes visible to the system?
The attorneys at the Home School Legal Defense Association have
repeatedly warned that homeschooling is the best way to buffer your
family from bogus "child abuse" or "child neglect" charges. The more
visibility your children have in the system, the more vulnerable your
family is to inappropriate intrusion.
Our sons are required by law to "register" for a currently non-existent
draft at age 18. The government's reason for this compulsory
"registration" is that too many citizens "fall through the cracks" due
to lack of visibility. Thankfully, our daughters do not yet have to
become more visible/vulnerable than we choose to voluntarily make them.
I obviously share your conclusion that young women serving on a jury is
a very vulnerable, potentially damaging experience we should be able to
shield them from. Let me share some thoughts of how we can protect our
daughters from this particular emotional/mental threat.
You noted that "never allowing her to become a registered voter" is
something you have learned the hard way. This is definitely one of the
ways we express our "individuality" in our culture. Early in the
republic's history, only heads of households voted. Sadly, today even in
very conservative households most of us have embraced the philosophic
underpinnings of the women's suffrage movement. Of course women should
vote! Therefore even Christian couples occasionally "split" their vote,
canceling one another's vote.
But since women are allowed to vote in our society, doesn't this mean
Christians must compromise with the cultural mores and have our wives
vote, so we can double our impact? This assumes that God NEEDS our help
in appointing His choice of leaders (Romans 13:1 makes it clear that all
"authorities that exist are appointed by God"). Especially if
registering to vote creates greater vulnerability for our families,
perhaps we should rethink this question.
But even if you don't register to vote, at least some states are now
drawing jurors from their list of driver's licenses. Ultimately, there
may be no way to completely shield our families from government
intrusion. However, this is one more reason I have chosen not to have my
daughter get a driver's license.
I believe Numbers 30 indicates that daughters are to be more protected
than sons. When Bethany approached the age when many young people
acquire permits to learn to drive, I began hinting that she would soon
be driving. She wasn't particularly excited, but was prepared to follow
my leadership. My wife appealed to me, however. She questioned whether
it is truly healthy for young ladies to drive. She noted that when she
"got wheels" she began displaying much more of an independent spirit
from her parents. She questioned whether this was healthy.
While I was initially skeptical, I began pondering and praying about
this issue. I recalled an aunt who never has driven in her life.
Although she is quite capable, no doubt, she and my uncle apparently
believe it is his place to drive and hers to ride. This is the
traditional pattern from before cars were even invented. Even today, in
most families the husband does the majority of the driving when the
family travels together.
At about this time, the Lord was clarifying my own thinking regarding
young people's independence and our assumptions regarding individualism.
Ultimately I evaluated this decision in light of a more scriptural
paradigm, and concluded that we would at least delay Bethany's getting a
driver's license. We anticipate leaving this decision to her husband,
whoever (and whenever) the Lord has her for.
This flies in the face of most contemporary notions. When Bethany flies
with me, she doesn't have a "government issued" picture ID. We must
bring her birth certificate for her to be allowed on the plane.
It would certainly be more convenient to have another driver (and we are
delighted to have our 16-year-old son helping with the driving, now) but
I am committed to protecting my children, but especially my daughter,
from unnecessary vulnerabilities the world's ways impose.
I'm thankful my daughter will not likely be called for any jury duty.
It's possible Bethany could still be visible and identified in some
government computer (she has a birth certificate) but I am doing my best
to help her "fall between the cracks" of the world's systems for as long
as we can keep it that way.
For further discussion of the impact of individualism, we offer several
tapes, including #316 "The Curse of Individualism," #126 "Commanding
Children," and #319 "Calling Children's Hearts." In relation to the
above discussion, you might also consider #115 "Training Sons vs.
To extend the thoughts introduced in the previous question, here is one
that deals with our sons and potential involvement in the MILITARY.
> We have gained so much listening to your tapes. There is one subjectUnquestionably there are many benefits a young person can derive from
> that we are interested in that we have not heard you address. What do
> you think about sons joining the military? What if a draft was imposed?
military service. They often receive training they could never acquire
or afford elsewhere. They can come under discipline they have previously
resisted (or not been provided). And there are numerous accounts of
ministry opportunities facilitated by military service. I have no doubt
the Lord has used military experience to benefit many Christians.
Especially in today's society, though, I think sending our sons (or
especially, daughters) into the military is unwise. Today's American
military is being used as a social experiment consciously snubbing and
undermining traditional (scriptural) moral standards and values. The
"Don't Ask--Don't Tell" policy, itself a serious compromise, is
generally not being enforced equally anyway. Recruiters and officers are
forbidden from asking about a person's gender orientation (how do I say
such things discreetly?), but sodomites are often not being
disciplined for openly "telling" and flaunting their perversion.
And now women are being recruited into the military and feminist
theories are being imposed on the leadership. The argument is that any
distinction between men and women results from (and results in) bigotry
in the social constructs of our cultural environment. Thus men and women
are being forced to sleep in the same barracks, and use the same rest
rooms and showers, often with nothing more than plastic curtains
No, I don't believe our youth should join the military.
As men and women are being trained together and continue to work
together, great hostility is being bred. The women are often physically
unable to handle the rigors that were once imposed in basic training.
Thus, the standards are being lowered, and reportedly many of the men
resent it. And although this is not supposed to happen, the women are
given preferential treatment that further increases hostility. But then
the natural attraction of men and women gets thrown into the mix and
promiscuity is rampant. However it is even more often even more devoid
of the facade of "love" than in the civilian world, being an expression
of stifled hatred and bitterness.
Gender harassment (and outright rape) inevitably and predictably becomes
an increasing problem, but then the flip side of this comes into
play. False charges of such harassment are being used as tools of
revenge and/or blackmail. The threat of such a charge becomes a potent
form of manipulation as more and more men's reputations and careers have
been permanently damaged even when the charges were proven false.
No, I don't believe our youth should join the military.
And now that the United States is increasingly involving itself with
busy-body interventions in other countries' affairs under the United
Nations or NATO, soldiers are finding their allegiance confused. Having
sworn to uphold and defend the American flag and constitution (aside
from the question of whether swearing such oaths is an acceptable
practice for Christians) their commander then transfers them to the
control of foreign officers where they must follow directions
potentially in conflict with their vows. Michael New's court-martial
(for refusing to where the UN symbol and come under UN command) has been
a wake-up call to many Christians. Here a Christian homeschool graduate
has stood on principles his parents taught him and is taking the
punishment for it.
God said it would be His curse that would "scatter" families (Gen. 49:7;
Deut. 4:27; 28:64). One of the by-products of military service has been
the scattering of Christian families. In America's early wars (even
through the war between the states) young men would fight alongside
their fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. The officers of
their regiment were generally the leading men in their own communities
back home. When the war was over, the survivors would generally return
together to their roots.
But as our society's thinking has become ever more individualistic, we
don't see young people primarily as connected extensions of their
families ("arrows in the hand of a warrior" Ps. 127:4), but rather, as
autonomous individuals. When young people join the military, their
parents relinquish the authority to protect and direct their lives. (I
recognize that probably in most cases this abdication took place long
Most of us are familiar with tragic stories of mentally and emotionally
scarred veterans who never fit back into their families. Even more
typical is the experience of young men being exposed to experiences and
people that change the direction of their lives either through marriage,
immorality, discontent (wanderlust), guilt, fears, or other things. For
whatever reasons, they are often never able to function in relationship
with their parents & siblings as they had previously.
No, I don't recommend having our youth join the military.
> We are to obey the government, but what about turning the other cheekThere are many issues I have been called to speak out on in my ministry.
> (Matt. 6:39), loving those that hate you (Matt. 6:44), loving your
> neighbor as yourself, and doing to others what you would have them do
> unto you? I understand that we would not have the freedom we do today if
> our forefathers had not fought for it, but how can you, in war time, love
> someone you are trying to kill? Yes, the Lord commanded certain wars in
> the Old Testament, but those were specific incidents, and I see a
> different message in the New Testament. I know I must be missing
> something here, but I don't understand how the two can mesh. If you are
> able to address this in one of your newsletters, I would really
> appreciate it.
There are other issues God has dealt with me regarding, that I must live
out privately, and only occasionally expose, so as to avoid distracting
from my more primary messages. I believe this issue is one of those. But
from to time I sense the Lord's direction to share, as graciously as
possible, what I believe He has led me to regarding Christians and
I don't believe you are "missing something here." I believe most of us
have rationalized our embrace of carnal common sense in flagrant
contradiction to the scriptural teaching. I believe that in all
situations other than the discipline of children Jesus forbad the use of
physical coercion to achieve even righteous ends. It seems to me our
Master calls us to non-resistance to evil, even in self-defense.
Before I proceed, let me appeal to each reader not to continue if you
are already angered by what you've just read. Godly people differ on
this issue. I hold many brethren with opposing views on this issue in
very high esteem. This is not an issue I believe God has called me (at
least at this point) to emphasize in my ministry. I don't want to limit
folks' openness to hear the thinks I HAVE been called to emphasize
because of disagreement or offense over this point.
However, I also believe God calls me to a degree of vulnerability and
openness, in which those who are seeking His mind on the issue will have
opportunity to be challenged. So for those who sincerely want to hear my
understanding of the mind of Christ (for whatever my understanding is
worth), I offer the following. But I ask that you stop now if you
anticipate being significantly offended.
The use of force is not inherently evil. God uses force. In the Old
Testament He directed His people to use physical weapons to accomplish
His purposes (both attacking and defending). In both the Old Testament
and the New Testament we learn that one day He will once again call us
to use physical power in executing His will (Ps. 149; Rev. 2:26-27;
20:4). And frankly, because we are led by the Spirit rather than by the
letter, I can even accept that in this age God could conceivably direct
someone to use force.
But we are to allow the scriptures to instruct our minds as to the norms
of God's ways--the default mode we are to assume as normative unless the
Holy Spirit explicitly leads in an exceptional way.
As I look at Jesus' (and the apostles') teaching, I cannot conclude
other than what the vast majority of the Christians of the first several
centuries held: that Jesus calls us to non-resistance.
Jesus' foundational teaching in this area is found in the Sermon on the
Mount. In Matthew 5 our Master repeatedly said, regarding various
issues, "You have heard that it was said... But I say to you..." He
would quote a valid scriptural mandate, and then (usually) clarify (or
tighten) it. But occasionally, he actually seems to have contradicted at
least the common understanding of the previous scriptural mandate.
The end of Matthew 5 (beginning with verse 38) is devoted to the topic
of relationships with enemies, oppressors, or opponents. In this
familiar passage, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye
for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an
evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other
to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let
him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go
with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow
from you do not turn away."
How literally should we take this? Jesus said "not to resist an evil
person." (This is the phrase from which many of us get the term
"non-resistant.") We've all heard (and most of us have given) arguments
explaining these commands in a way that allows us to take them less
literally than they appear. In the past, I've used arguments from the
culture, from the background of the law, etc., that allow me to
understand these directions a bit more liberally.
But who among us hasn't wondered if maybe... just maybe, Jesus meant
these things quite literally?
But no, He must have been using hyperbole, exaggerating to make His
point that we are to avoid conflict. Besides, it's virtually impossible
to carry these things out literally. For example, if I give to EVERYONE
who asks me, EVERYONE would ask me for everything and I wouldn't have
Oh wretched man that I am! I repeatedly use such common sense
rationalizations to defend myself from what God says. But realistically,
how COULD someone really live like that?
I find rest in understanding that Jesus was not creating a new, improved
law. He died to set us free from the very principle of written law
"having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,
which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having
nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:14). Yet the law (and the writings of
the apostles) "were written for our learning" (Rom. 15:4) so that our
thinking could be shaped by God's ways. Although we are to be LED by the
Spirit, we are to be INSTRUCTED by the scriptures.
In the infrequent times I discuss these issues, I occasionally have
folks argue, "If your wife was being attacked, wouldn't you defend her?"
The question of what I WOULD do is actually irrelevant. I'm a very
flawed man. The question should be, what SHOULD I do? One way to
approach this hypothetical dilemma is to ask, What would Jesus do? (The
WWJD fad isn't always the best approach to finding God's will, but it
usually gets us headed more or less in the right direction.)
We can surmise what Jesus would do from His statements. As noted above,
He told His disciples "not to resist an evil person." When Peter tried
to defend Him, Jesus told him to "Put your sword in its place" (Matt.
26:52). Some insist that the reason for this was so that Peter wouldn't
thwart God's plan in providing Jesus as the permanent Passover Lamb.
Jesus did say (verses 53-54), "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to
My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of
angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen
thus?" However, before saying this, He gave a prior reason for
commanding that Peter put up his sword. He said, "Put your sword in its
place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (verse 52).
In other words, the reason for avoiding force in protecting even the
Lord Jesus was based on principle.
Even if the reason for not using the sword were simply to avoid
undermining God's will, the same reason might apply to us. In John's
account of this episode (John 18:11), Jesus told Peter, "Put your sword
into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given
Me?" What should our response be when God allows us or even our loved
ones to suffer? Jesus warned James and John (Mark 10:39), "You will
indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized
with you will be baptized." I believe this applies to all of us who will
embrace His sufferings (Rom. 8:16-17; 2 Tim. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:1).
If it is God's will for us to suffer for His glory, we certainly should
not resist the source of the suffering. Peter (the one who had learned
such a stern lesson after lopping off the high priest's servant's ear)
wrote (1 Pet. 4:19) "Therefore let those who suffer according to the
will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful
I can imagine the protests of those who find such voluntary suffering
akin to suicide or self-flagellation. Certainly there are times when we
do well to try to avoid suffering. In sending out the twelve, Jesus told
them (Matt. 10:23), "When they persecute you in this city, flee to
another." Fleeing may sometimes be pleasing to God, but it appears that
defending ourselves, or even others, is generally not.
In Luke's account of this episode (Luke 22:49-51), Jesus' followers
asked Him, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" Before Jesus could
even answer, the high priest's servant's ear was cut off. Still Jesus
responded to the question, saying, "Permit even this" and then healed
Jesus' response "Permit EVEN this" is quite interesting. It implies
there are other, lesser things that are definitely to be "permitted."
The Greek words (/heos/ /toutou/) imply "until this point." In other
words, if there is any suffering less worthy of defense than Christ's
crucifixion, we are to permit, or allow (or not resist) it. I can't
imagine any suffering my family or I might experience that would be more
significant than Christ's.
In case we didn't catch the drift of His message in the sermon on the
mount the first time (Matt. 5:38-42) Jesus approached the issue from a
different direction in verses 43-48. He said, "You have heard that it
was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say
to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those
who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute
you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun
rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the
unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not
even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren
only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do
so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is
It is hard to imagine killing an enemy while truly loving him. If the
enemy is a non-believer, I am sending him to an eternal hell, separated
from Christ, who loved him so much that He died for Him. If the enemy is
a believer, I'm killing a brother. Regarding brothers, Jesus said (John
15:12), "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have
loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's
life for his friends." I am to lay down my life for brothers rather than
In argument against such a position, some will argue that Jesus condoned
the use of the sword for defense when he told the apostles (Luke 22:36),
"But now, he who has a money bag, let
him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him
sell his garment and buy one." At one time I used this argument as well.
But I couldn't explain why Jesus then rebuked Peter for using the sword.
I still can't fully explain that passage. Nor can I satisfactorily
account for Jesus using a whip to drive the moneychangers out of the
temple. And Paul's use of the coercive legal system (appeal to Caesar)
leaves some unanswered questions. (In my Tape #302 "Political Activism:
Scriptural Questions" I provide some possible answers to these seemingly
contradictory actions.) But rather than re-interpret Jesus' clear words
in light of examples, I believe it is better hermeneutics to seek to
interpret scriptural scenarios in light of the clear directives.
Like the martyr Jim Elliott (as described in his biography, _Shadow of
the Almighty_, by his wife, Elizabeth Elliott Gren), I have come to even
question any participation in the political process by Christians, other
than prophetic appeals, because it is ultimately coercive (as well as
usually compromising--the lesser of two evils). This is the reason so
many of the early church fathers wrote against Christians becoming
either magistrates (law-makers, judges) or soldiers (law enforcement
agents). Soldiers (and perhaps magistrates) could apparently become
Christians without giving up their commission as long as they gave up
the use of "intimidation" (threat of force?) as John the Baptist said in
I can imagine the hurt (perhaps angry) responses of many folks, to what
I've written here. Please know I don't mean to offend. I have many close
Christian brothers who see these issues differently than I do, and I
honor them. Yet I honestly believe this is another issue in which the
scriptures teach a truth that is overlooked by many Christians today.
But I do not believe the Lord has called me to make this particular
topic a major issue in my ministry. Thus, I only infrequently address
this subject, primarily as a point of openness and vulnerability, to be
a witness without being a lawyer (attorney, advocate, prosecutor).
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Jonathan Lindvall Lindvall@...
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...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it... Phil. 1:6