Lust has terrifying power. Normally you’d ask yourself, ‘What about the repercussions of this? What if I go ahead and do the thing I shouldn’t?’ But when lust is fanned into flame, all rational thoughts vanish. Gone are the concerns, ‘What about my wife, my children, my career, my relationship with God, this woman’s husband, her reputation?’ These things no longer matter. Lust crashes in like a great tidal wave and sweeps all responsible thinking aside. It fills the emotions and emotions rob the mind of its control. Suddenly you must have satisfaction – now. Lust urges you to live for now. It forces your mind to yield and compels your will to obey. The wave knocks you off your feet. All resolutions to live a godly life are swept aside. David, a man who loved God, was overwhelmed as lust prevailed.
David – a product of his generation?
But you need not fall. You have the power to overcome this enemy. God would urge you, ‘Live a clean life, young man, young woman. I want you free of those unclean habits. I don’t want you away from the battle, lying in bed, letting your imagination run wild and then finding yourself overwhelmed with passion.’ Young Christian couples, what standards are you settling for? Boyfriend, girlfriend – perhaps not engaged, but very fond of one another – what are your standards? How do you conduct yourselves when nobody else is around? Does God approve of what you are doing?
Some people have argued in defence of David. ‘We mustn’t be too hard on him,’ they say. ‘He was in a unique position. He was a despotic king in an oriental society. Other kings living at that time wouldn’t have thought twice about taking a woman. Bathsheba was not particularly at fault, either. How could she be expected to resist the will of this great monarch? Surely he could have whatever he wanted, so if he wanted Bathsheba, he would have her. We must make allowances for the culture of the day. David was, to some degree, a product of his age, and we must understand that before we judge him for his conduct.’
David – a man after God’s heart
But David was not a mere product of his generation, he was the ‘man after God’s heart’. I once read an alarming Gallup survey indicating that 52% of regular churchgoers between the ages of thirteen and eighteen didn’t consider premarital sex wrong. The poll pointed out that this was 10% below the national average. But you are not called to be 10% better than the world. You are meant to be as different as light and darkness!
God sees the moral landslide that’s taken place in the last few decades. He watches as young people are seduced, abused, corrupted. They carry the guilt and shame around with them, yet many young Christians argue, ‘Everyone’s doing it.’ They accept the world’s standard that as soon as they have been going out for a short time they should give rein to their sexual impulses.
‘All the other oriental kings did it,’ say David’s defenders. ‘Everyone else does it’ – is that your excuse? Do you adopt worldly standards and merely follow everybody else? Does God’s Word tell you that you are free to play around like this? Never! David was not just another oriental king, a product of his age. He was God’s chosen man. All the other kings, in their ungodliness, could do whatever they liked, but David had much higher standards to keep. So have you.
‘The process of lust is simple. It begins with attraction, it turns quickly to dissatisfaction with your current situation – you become dissatisfied with your spouse or with the one that you are supposedly in love with – it moves to fixation on another and you become ungrateful, discontented, and obsessive. You become filled with lust, and your thoughts and your mind are filled with images of the other person. You have nothing on your mind but an appetite for them. This person becomes on object of worship. They eventually are not even considered a person, because they’re an object, and you’re just looking for satisfaction.’
Bill Shannon – A Passion for Purity, Shepherd’s Conference, 2005, Session 33.