This is a study about lust and how it can be overcome. This study was generated when I realized that in Scripture the unicorn is a symbol for lust. Surprisingly, my enlightenment came when I was meditating on a verse in Isaiah that makes no mention of unicorns.
I revere the Word of God, but I do not always accept conventional Bible interpretation or conventional history because sometimes the conventional is either wrong or too limited. I evaluate other interpretations and sources to see if they have greater value.
In putting together this study, I had to dispense with an admonition to not read between the lines when studying the Bible. I was snootily told that we are supposed to live on the lines, not between the lines. This play on words sounds cute, but it misses the point. Does not the Bible itself say in Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law"? If everything in the Bible is obvious, we would not need for God to open our eyes.
"The Gap Theory" has been referred to with contempt in the belief that, if there was a race of people who lived on the Earth before Adam's time, and if God wanted us to know about it, He would have said more about it than make a bare reference to their prior existence when He told Adam and Eve to "replenish" the Earth. Actually, God throws us tidbits like that as bait to invite us to seek Him for the answers to the questions they generate.
It turns out that it is important to know the answers to these questions. It isn't frivolous to look into the mysteries of the Bible. The things I have learned are extremely valuable for helping people stand firm in faith when the world tries to make us feel ridiculous for believing that there is a God, for trusting in Him, and believing that He created the world in six, literal, twenty–four hour days.
It's pretty cool stuff for witnessing to people with, too, because it makes sense and meets them where their interests are. People really hate when we try to impose our beliefs on them without offering valid, logical reasons to accept what the Bible says.
Throughout this study about lust, I have interspersed my own experiences, so that the reader will know that I was not born with a superior ability to exercise self–control. I am a person of "like passions". The way I express myself may offend some who consider it earthy, but I am not trying to be scholarly. I am trying to help ordinary people like myself who want to please the Lord in all things, including their sexuality.
I have been celibate, in a physical sense at least, ever since my marriage broke up back in 1986. That's not like me at all. Before I came to know Yehoshua, and even for a year after I had received Him as my Saviour, I had a lust problem. Thank God my personality disposed me towards being quiet and shy or I would have had myself quite the little reputation in my teens, even worse than what it was.
Being delivered from lust did not make me frigid; I very much enjoyed marital intimacies. After being set free, I went through two years of hardly dating, which was peculiar because I was a pretty girl in my youth. I think that God kept most men away from me. The ones who admired me were too shy to speak to me, and I was too shy to speak to the ones whom I admired.
When I was twenty, I finally got to know a bonnie, young Scotsman in my church, and we "fell in love". Actually, we were a couple of poor saps who really didn't know much about genuine love; hence, the marriage fell apart. Ten years later, it was on the rocks.
If I had known back then that I was going to be celibate for the next 20+ years, I would have wanted to jump off a bridge. I did not think back then that I could go more than a few months without sex. Wisely, God did not tell me how long I would be single.
I can't say that my mind has been totally pure in all that time, though I sure wish that I could because Yehoshua said that if a man (this includes women, too) lusts after someone in their heart, it is the same as if they had committed the actual sin. I fantasized at spiritually low points in my life.
During a nervous breakdown that occurred in 1986 due to the break–up of my marriage, I even hallucinated that I engaged in sexual activity with a man I knew. To anyone who has ever done that, you need to repent of it the same as if it had actually happened. A hallucination about a sexual encounter can not place you in it as a willing participant without your consent. Our will is the gatekeeper of our soul. There is always the option of focussing our attention on the Lord to deliver us from illicit passions.
I did not know at the time, though, that it wasn't real. I was susceptible to sinful suggestions that were projected into my mind because there was sin in my heart. If instead I had said, "You know, this is all a lot stupid nonsense and I rebuke you in the Name of Jesus," I am sure that what was happening would have taken a different turn. I probably would have recovered from my illness a lot quicker.
Since those days, I have learned to put my imagination to much better use. It is not all imagination that the Bible condemns; only wicked imaginations. Our imagination is a gift from God, given as a tool to help bring forth His Kingdom. It is no wonder that satan works so hard at making Christians fearful of using it, lest they should be criticized and tagged as flakes.
Generally, Christians are scared silly to read between the lines of the Bible because they fear accusations of adding to it, even if their insights or conjectures do not diminish the Bible in any way.
The Bible presents only a skeleton. Hungering after God compels a person to dig into His Word and bring flesh upon its bones. The Holy Spirit uses the great gift that He has given us of an imagination to visualize the setting and action in Bible stories, assisted by a study of history, and to read between the lines, also drawing upon our personal experiences and observations of life, to make the Word come alive for us.
Reading the Bible this way has answered puzzling questions for me. Many Christians simply ignore what they don't understand. This has brought the world's contempt on them for their refusal to deal with facts that seem to contradict the Bible. Some facts appear to lend support to worldly theories, but it is not so. The Bible holds the keys to interpreting all facts correctly. There is nothing in Nature that contradicts the Good News of the Anointed Lord Yehoshua or the Bible's record of history. There is, however, more to that record than meets the blinkered or casual eye.
My imagination is facilitated by information I have gleaned from sources other than the Bible, including secular authors. The historical records of ancient people have some valid information in them. Christians need to get over their fear of considering the claims of secular authors lest they lose their faith, and trust God more to help them sift through the information that they offer. Having a sound and thorough knowledge of the Bible helps us do this. Even the Bible refers to other sources of information that are not considered holy canon. Paul paid attention to both Hebrew and heathen writings and referred to the latter, whenever it was appropriate, as he witnessed to people.
The Bible needs to be explored with the imagination, as well as an ability to comprehend the language we read it in. We need to put ourselves in the scenes we read about, as silent observers. We need to get passionate about studying the Bible. In it are the words of life.
Click below to read:
Taming the Unicorn, Chapter 1
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 6, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.