What Love is, What Lust Isn't


“ Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,  is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs.  Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB

The definition of love has been skewed over the generations that came before us, and is certainly skewed now. Love has become far less “What can I do for you?” and far more, in the words of a famous pop 90s song, “What have you done for me lately?” Before you start humming to this tune, let us think clearly on what it means to love. Because we may very well have the concept and truth of love confused with it’s not-as-fulfilling wicked alter ego, lust

We see from God’s Word what love is. And we know that the greatest display of love in the history of all existence was the love Christ showed for us, dying for us on the Cross while we were yet sinners and His enemies (Romans 5:8). Love cannot be divorced from what the biblical and true definition of it is. After all, God is love (1 John 4:8). It is one of His attributes. And if we say we love and know God, it is only because He loved us first (1 John 4:19).

So, what then, is lust? It is can often, and does often, get confused with love, putting on a mask and pretending to be something it is not. If scripture shows us what love is, we can also take a moment to reflect what lust is. 

Have you ever lusted for things in a patient manner? Is lusting for anything or anyone kind? When you lust after someone or something, aren’t you being envious that you do not have that thing or that person? When lust is satisfied, and that satisfaction only temporarily, do you not become boastful or arrogant? Is not the very substance of lust to be self-seeking, exalting your desires over the desires of others? Or how others can be used to fulfill that desire? If we only look to something or someone to fulfill our lustful needs, we will always be bent towards bitterness when they don’t measure up. Lust is of the flesh, it cannot find joy in righteousness, nor can it rejoice in truth. Can lust ever bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, or endure all things? No. It cannot. Because lust is not from God.   

We must never take our ques from society, the world, or even our own selves on what love is separated from the truth of God’s word. If God is love, and indeed He is, we must go to the Source of this attribute to know what love is and what lust isn’t. Sisters, let us no longer confuse lust with love. And ask our Heavenly Father, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to guide us in discernment to know the difference. 


Heavenly Father, You are love. And not the warped love that the world has tried to pass off. We know that is lust. You are pure, holy, and just. And for us to know love, and how to love, we must know You. Forgive us for our selfishness, lustful, and prideful ways. Let us draw near to You and learn of You, as You teach us in Your Word Who You are, and draw near to us. For Your glory, and for our good. In Christ’s name we pray, amen. 

Your turn: 

Have you had lust and love confused in your life? Do you understand or know the difference between lust and love? Lust is of the world. Love is of God. Pray for God to increase your love for His pure and righteous love and to uproot anything that is not of Him in your life. Try journaling out these things and go back and reflect on how His Spirit will change and guide you, as you humble yourself before Him.