Anticipation – the fuel of lust

Posted on February 11, 2014 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Teenagers

Lust is a sin that dominates and never satisfies. This sequence is not random. Dissatisfaction is an intended consequence of lust that was designed by the enemy of your souls. Remember that Amnon was consumed by his sinful desire for Tamar. Yet, after he had acted upon his desire and taken her, instead of being satisfied, he was filled with hatred. The Holman Christian Standard Bible translates verse 2 Samuel 13:15 this way:

After this, Amnon hated Tamar with such intensity that the hatred he hated her with was greater than the love he had loved her with. “Get out of here!” he said.

In desperation, Tamar pleads with Amnon not to send her away. But his hatred was so great that he had her thrown out of his house and the door bolted behind her. What caused this reaction? Was Tamar less beautiful than she was when Amnon lusted after her? No, of course not. 

His behavior illustrates Ephesians 4:17-19 – lust is never satisfied. Just as importantly, this story also teaches that lust is fueled primarily by the anticipation of the act it dangles in front of its captives. If the act itself fueled the lust, Amnon should have been satisfied. But instead of being satisfied, he was filled with raging hatred. What he thought he wanted yielded no satisfaction at all.,This is the key to understanding lust, whether you are a businessman looking for relief with pornography or a teenager stealing time to search the internet. That is also why remorse about engaging in lustful acts–whether it is pornography, thoughts, masturbation or sexual sin with another person–will not stop the lust. The act itself never satisfies. Amnon’s reaction of disgust and anger is common to most who are caught in the web of lust.

Tedd Tripp’s term ruling desire is right on target as a description of lust. If you focus only on the act that results from the lust, frustration and failure will continue. You may succeed in changing behavior for a short time, but the burning desires of lust will not have been quenched. This pattern of anticipation, action, and regret is what I call the lust cycle.

The anticipation of the contemplated act, whatever the act may be, drives the cycle. Lust promises more than it can possibly deliver.  Several negative, crippling outcomes flow from the lust cycle.

Hope is found in realizing the anticipation of satisfaction that lust offers is a lie. Grace and truth are found only Christ. Parents, if you desire to see your teenagers be free from the downward spiral of the lust cycle, point them lovingly to Christ. You will not be able to scold or punish your children to help them be free them from lust. Help them to understand the lies of the flesh. Love your teenagers. Honor them as God’s gift to you.  This may not seem like much, but is the first step in breaking the lust cycle. It the first step to seeing your teenager grasp the power of Christ to turn him from his sin.


Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.