Can we make lust taboo?
A taboo is something that is vehemently “forbidden based on moral judgment and religious beliefs.” When confronted with a taboo, we do not consider breaking it. The line is drawn so clearly that we dare not cross it.
Incest is a good example. It is condemned in every culture. The idea of sexual relations with a sibling or one’s child is abhorrent and rejected as a matter of course. We are horrified by it. We recoil from it. It is off the table. We totally close the door to it.
This keeps us out of trouble.
You know when you have made lust taboo….
The power of taboos reaches beyond visible behavior. They also do their magic in our hearts and minds. They can stop lust in the heart. Lust is the inner gratification of illicit desire. Should a twisted thought or desire which violates a taboo enter our mind, we do not go with it. We do not allow ourselves to lust in that way.
Making lust taboo
You know when you have made lust taboo when you find yourself reflexively recoiling from it. This is what it looks like when you overcome lust. Confronted with a temptation to generate an illicit sexual buzz, you turn—flee—from it. Having learned how to do this and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) you will not linger around a temptation to lust. You will not consider the pros and cons of giving in. You will not weigh the possible consequences.
Paul describes this as denying worldly lusts (Titus 2:12). Granted, this ability to deny lust—to make it taboo—is not popular. The world and even many Christians tell us that lust is a normal, hard-wired response. We are only human after all.
However, our ability to deny lust in cases that involve a taboo like incest proves that we can deny it in other sinful situations as well. It comes down to where we choose to draw the line.
Jesus told us exactly where that line is. He told us to deny ourselves adultery in the heart—the gaining of an illicit sexual buzz from anyone other than your spouse.
Granted, Satan and the world around us are determined to break down objections to taboos—to normalize every sin. Things that may have been unspeakable in the past become common and accepted. The result is that sin flourishes and dominates many lives.
Successfully making lust taboo allows you to take every lustful thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) and demonstrates that you are free you from enslavement to lust.
You cannot eliminate the thought of sin. You certainly cannot take away your desires. However, you most certainly can and must eliminate lust—you can make it taboo—and thus live in a way that pleases God.
My hope is that we can agree on these ideas and instill this teaching and practice in our families and churches. Is there a better way to equip our children to deal with temptations and to overcome lust in a wicked world?