What can the story of a medieval robber barron teach us about lust?
In the 1300s, the robber barron Dirk Loef van Horne built an impregnable, state of the art fortress called Loevenstein—Loef’s Stone—pictured above. It is near the village of Giessenburgh in South Holland which is where my mother was born. Her sturdy ancestral home—where my uncle still lives—dates back even earlier than this castle. Loevenstein and Giessenburgh are both worth a visit if you are in that area.
Dirk situated his fortress strategically on an island in the middle of the Rhine River in order to extract illegal, confiscatory tolls (usually 50% of goods transported) from all ships passing by. His top-notch castle was only overrun once—by Napoleon’s army—and then only because the Rhine froze over during the amazingly cold winter of 1794/1795.
During a visit to Loevenstein years ago with my mother and grown children, a tour guide explained that Dirk eventually retired to Switzerland, a wealthy man. Before that, he had surrendered his lucrative enterprise to European rulers who had decided that enough was enough and mustered the firepower to make an offer he could not refuse.
The sin of lust can set itself up in our lives in what seems like an impregnable fortress as well.
The sin of lust can set itself up in our lives in what seems like an impregnable fortress as well. After it has established a stronghold in your life, it too will exact a heavy toll. No one who is ruled by lust is exempt.
Pastor John MacArthur tells the story of an elderly member of his church. The sorrowful man tearfully confessed on his deathbed that he had never been able to defeat the use of pornography in his life. The hidden sin of lust had successfully taken charge, demanding that he give into its demands. Sadly, he had never learned that pornography was not the problem. Lust was the problem.
Maybe you feel the same way, bowed down by lust—a sin you cannot overcome. Lust has built a stronghold in your life and you are paying the toll demanded. Because of lust, you are giving up your joy, your effectiveness and your freedom.
I have good news. No believer is doomed to live his life defeated by lust or any other sin. The “weapons of our warfare” are designed for the very task of bringing down this stronghold and all others (2 Corinthians 10:4). If you diligently take hold of and apply these mighty weapons, lust will not prevail.
Once you see the power of God defeat this sin, it will open up more doors of victory. Though you may have been stuck in the ditch for a long time, you can get back on the road—a road that will take you places you cannot imagine.
Even though Dirk Loef was a formidable robber barron with an impregnable castle, he could not withstand the concerted power of those stronger than him. Neither can lust.
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