In part 1 of this series on the dangers of lustful desires and how to overcome, we looked at the 3 different categories of lust. Now, we would consider few examples of Bible characters who allowed their lusts to draw them away.
One example in the Bible who allowed lust of the eyes to destroy his career, destiny and ministry is Gehazi. In 2 Kings 5:1-16, God used great Prophet Elisha to heal the leprosy of Naaman, a great man and captain of the host of Syria. Naaman offered gifts to the Prophet after his healing but the man of God rejected them and refused to gratify the desires of the flesh. The prophet did not allow the glory due to God to be monetized and materialized and given to him, a mere mortal. He rejected the gifts. But Gehazi could not resist the lust in him and was tempted to go back to collect the rejected gift items from Naaman. He allowed himself to be drawn away into destruction and eternal generational curse because of his uncontrollable desire for worldly things.
“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.” (2 Kings 5:20-24)
Gehazi had all the opportunity in the world to inherit a four-times portion of Elisha’s anointing if he had not allowed himself to be destroyed by lust of the eyes. Elisha was the servant of Elijah just like Gehazi was the servant of Elisha. Elisha got the double portion of Elijah’s anointing because he was steadfast, diligent and of high integrity. Similarly, at Elisha’s departure, there could have been the possibility of Gehazi requesting and obtaining four portions of his master’s anointing but for covetousness bred by lust of the eyes. He, and all his generations to come after him, ended up as lepers. What a pity!
The last deadly and destructive category of lust mentioned in 1 Peter 2:16 is the pride of life. This mostly manifests through accumulation and acquisition of both secular and religious titles and positions that may be unnecessary and irrelevant to their specific calls. Obsessive quest for fame, recognition, beauty, untamed talents, positions, power, riches and all vain pleasures and achievements that make them end up being puffed up and wanting to take the place of God anywhere they find themselves. That is the nature of Lucifer and that is what drove him out of heaven. Pride! (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19). Men who pursue after these things have forgotten that all is vanity (Eccl. 1:2).
I have personally seen those I refer to ecclesiastical ‘gangsters’ parading themselves as men of God and carrying titles like ‘evangelist so and so’ but who have more of pastoral calling than what they claim to be. It is obvious they are just called to be pastors or overseers as the case may be but because they are title-drunk, they prefer to address themselves and be addressed as ‘evangelist so and so’, so that they can be more respected and revered by their congregation. I have also seen some addressing themselves as ‘Apostle so and so’, but sincerely, they cannot tell where they are sent to and what they are sent to do. They cannot even tell where they started from or who mentored them. These are nothing but title-drunk religious touts and marabouts parading themselves about, whom, according to Apostle Paul, warning in 2 Timothy 3:1-7:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
And also Apostle Peter describing such religious gangsters in 2 Peter 2:14-15,
“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”
Examples of men who allowed the pride of life ruin their destiny, career and ministry include King Herod who refused to ascribe glory and honour to the King of kings, the God of heaven and the earth, the one who enthroned Herod himself as king, but arrogated power and God’s glory to himself. He died suddenly and eaten up by worm instantly. King Herod never fulfilled purpose.
“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:21-23)
Others who allowed pride consume and destroy them in their prime include King Nebuchadnezzar who disdained God by ascribing power and authority to himself in Daniel 4:21-23 and ended up a beast in the bush as recorded in Daniel 4:32-33. Daniel recanted this again to Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar who also toed the line of his father in Daniel 5: 17-24 and fell into the same trap of pride when he, together with the heathens in his palace, used the vessels his father confiscated from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and messed them up by eating and drinking with them thereby desecrating those sanctified vessels ceremonially meant for the temple use in worship of the almighty God. King Belshazzar died that same night he desecrated those temple items because of pride. He refused to learn from the mistake of his father, even though his father had the privilege of being restored after his penitence and repentance, having recognized the God of heaven.
What about king Herod of Egypt who perished with his chariots and horsemen in the red sea because of pride and haughtiness of heart? (Exo. 14:26-28).
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)
We all should be careful about how we live and run our lives so that we could escape the dangers of excessive and uncontrollable desires called lust that is capable of making one fall from grace to grass like those we read about in the Bible.
(To be continued in Part 3)