It’s been a long time since I’ve promised to write part two of my post on love vs lust. This is something I talked about on our radio show a while back, and I’ve been meaning to write out the points.

Love vs Lust: Part 1 was more of an introduction—I wanted to clarify that not all attraction is evil.

Now I want to go into greater detail on the differences between love and lust.  I think you’ll find love and lust are worlds apart in their essence. Here goes:

Difference #1 Lust is Inherently Selfish, while Love is Selfless in Nature

Lust is all about me: what I want to do and how I can be gratified. The object of lust is nothing more than a means to an end or way to meet my own wants. There is little regard for the impact my behavior will have on anyone else—especially the object of my selfish desires.

The Bible describes sexual immorality as something that wrongs, defrauds, or takes advantage of another (1st Thessalonians 4:6). This is the nature of lust—usually someone gets what he wants at another’s expense.

Love, on the other hand, always puts the other person’s needs first. I’m not saying we enter romantic relationships with no thoughts of our own happiness or fulfillment. Having said that, a loving relationship is about two people who are mutually concerned with each other’s well being.

Difference #2 Lust Can’t Wait, but Love is Patient

Lust says, “I must have, and I must have now.” Immature, short-term thinking drives lust. This is another reason lust is so dangerous—people are fooled into doing something without considering the long-term consequences of their behaviors.

But “patient” is the first adjective used to describe love in the 1st Corinthians 13 (vs. 4). Love inspires us to delay gratification and think about long-term plans.

I like the way Pastor Rick Warren summarized these first two points:
“Love can wait to give, lust can’t wait to get.” 

Difference #3 Lust Deceives and Damages, but Love Brings Life and Truth 

Lust says, “This will make me happy.” Those who believe the empty promise are ultimately let down. It may be as simple as disappointment with the all-too temporary nature of the thrill.

Tragically, the fruits of lust and sexual immorality are usually much worse: loss of self-respect, emotional baggage, unwanted pregnancy, and in some cases, life-threatening diseases. I’ve heard the stories first-hand, which is why I wrote Learning the Hard Way

But love enhances, builds, and creates life. “I love you” are the most important, life-giving words we can hear another speak to us.

Genuine love is also grounded in truth. “I love you” should mean, “I know you, and I love you anyway.” We can give no better example than God’s love for us—He knows us intimately (better than we know ourselves), yet He has chosen to love us anyway.
The ultimate expression of his love, of course, was sending His Son to die for us.

We never regret making choices based on genuine Christ-centered love–it brings life to us and those around us.

Love and lust could not be more different.  I hope this post has helped you understand this. 

Learning the Hard Way