Hi! I was led to your site from confusion about the laws of lust. My girlfriend and I were confused about whether or not it's still lust if we the have those feelings and urges for each other and only each other. From the similar questions I've read, and the answers you provided, I've gotten clarity about about that and I understand what the Bible says about it. But this is not my question.
My question involves my relationship with my girlfriend. We have been together for over a year now. I always believed God had a plan for us that included us to one day be married. I admit that we have sinned in pre-marital sex. But the reason why I began to believe she is the wife God has chosen her to be for me is because not only has she has supported and stayed by my side no matter what people said about our relationship, but our relationship is suddenly leading us to a spiritual path. She has always tried to get closer to Christianity despite our sins, and that has inspired me as well.
Recently we have heard testimonies from friends who have sinned by fornication and turned their life around through Christ. Their stories touched us and inspired us equally to listen to God, stop, and ask forgiveness for our sins. Now together we make a promise to read a scripture every day about lust and temptation so we can no longer give in to that. I feel if God had not brought her into my life I wouldn't have come this close to my Christianity as I am now. I feel like God's plan was for us to last through marriage in the future with Him as part of our relationship. I wonder if she is truly the wife sent from God because of what we have experienced together and what she has inspired me to do?
I'm glad you figured out that sexual lust and acts, though focused on only one person, is still sinful. Fornication is wrong because you and she were engaging in sex without a covenant of marriage binding the two of you. It creates all sorts of hidden problems as I tried to explain in the article "Marriage's Glue."
Did God send this woman to you so that you could commit fornication but eventually be led to Christ? Such cannot be. "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1:13). But what God can and does do is take the messes which we often make of our lives and show us how we can turn that mess into something that is truly beautiful.
You and your girlfriend are interested in making God a part of your lives. Don't stop; such an attitude will make great and positive changes in both your lives. Like the Corinthians, turn yourself around to the point that everyone notices how much you've improved. "For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 7:11).
I don't know your ages or your situation, but if you are able to marry and have the right to marry, instead of dangling temptation in front of you, both of you will be far better off marrying so that you can grow together in this life. "But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:9).
Since you are hinting that neither of you have actually committed your lives to Christ, I would also urge you to study what it means to be a Christian and how to become a Christian. Even more than marriage that is something the should not be delayed. "For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2). See "How to Become a Christian" for more details.
If you like to learn more about how to be a good husband or how to become a Christian, I would be happy to talk with you at length.
Oh! Thank you very much for the response. My girlfriend and I will take that with us.
Well, I have another question that involves lust. I know you said that lust is still sinful even when it is focused on one person, but I also know that you have mentioned in marriage it's OK to have a healthy sexual desire for your wife, and it is not lust when your wife desires you back. But is it possible to have a healthy sexual desire when you're courting and have no intentions to be with anyone else, without it being selfish lust? I'm not asking if it's OK to lust after each other; but rather, is it ok to be sexually attracted to each other before we're married?
I try to be careful in distinguishing between a desire and a lust. The formal definition of lust is a very strong desire, both in English and in Greek, but generally it contains a negative connotation because we reserve the word for a strong desire that if acted upon would break a law of God.
There is nothing wrong for a wife or husband to have a strong sexual desire for her or his spouse. If that sexual desire is acted upon, it is perfectly fine because sex belongs in a marriage. "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband" (I Corinthians 7:3).
That there is a sexual attraction between a man and woman who are dating is also something expected. That is why couples should take steps minimize temptations for those desires to go further. It is too easy to get carried away by passion. But if all your thoughts about her focuses on sex and wanting to get naked with her, then you have a major problem. You are not married to this woman. You cannot act upon your desires without breaking a law of God.
Nor is your relationship going to develop properly. Being focused on sex, you will drift into seeing her as an object on which to satisfy yourself instead of a person whose character you treasure.
You're male. You are easily aroused. You've had problems in the past giving in to fornication. Of course you are sexually attracted to this woman. Instead of skirting the issue, you need to face the fact that you have a weakness in this area and so you must avoid the many pitfalls. Get yourself in the frame of mind that it is your job to project your girlfriend's reputation. "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (Ephesians 5:3). You are protecting her honor by making sure there is no cause for people to think you two are having sex behind everyone's back.