In our church culture, lust seems connected fairly strictly with sex. However, if we look to Strong’s Concordance for the definition of lust, we find it’s meaning to be an even deeper issue–that of the heart.

Unlike the various words used for ‘love,’ the word for ‘lust’ is not mentioned even once in Songs of Songs (feel free to check it out for yourselves).

We have here the Hebrew words for lust, what they mean, and where they can be found. Please note that since the Scripture references below are from the Old Testament, the specific words are in Hebrew and can be found under the Hebrew section of Strong’s Concordance. The four digit numbers found below are the numbers assigned to the specific Hebrew words for ‘lust.’

5315 – Ex. 15:9, Ps. 78:18  –

-A breathing creature

-Animal or otherwise





-Any appetite












-Will have it

8378 – Ps 78:30 –

-A longing

-A delight

-Satisfaction (obj. charm)


-Exceedingly greedy



Now, here are references to ‘lust’ found in the New Testament. Thus, these are found in the Greek section of Strong’s Concordance, and the four digit number below is the number assigned to that specific Greek word for ‘lust.’

1939 – Ro. 7:7, Gal 5:16, Jas. 1: 14-15, 2 Peter 1:4, 2:10, 1 Jn. 2:16-17 –

-A longing for (esp. for what is forbidden)


-Lust after


Now, if you will, join me in looking at the specific verses (which give us context) where ‘lust’ is mentioned, and ask yourself: “Am I living out any of these in my life?”

  • “The enemy said: “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil. My desire will be gratified at their expense” (Exodus 15:9)
  • “But they continued to sin against Him, rebelling in the desert, against the Most High. They deliberately tested God, demanding the food they craved” (Psalm 78:17-8, read also 29-36).
  • “Before they had satisfied their desire, while the food was still in their mouths, God’s anger flared against them, and He killed some of their best men. He struck down Israel’s choice young men. Despite all this, they kept sinning and did not believe His wonderful works” (Psalm 78:30-32).
  • “…for example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said ‘Do not covet'” (Romans 7:7b). (Continued to verse 8…) “And sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind…”)
  • “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galations 5:16. Read the following verses too, because they’re good).
  • “By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).
  • “For everything that belongs to the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle–is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever” (1 John 2:16-17).

Lust goes beyond sex or desiring sex. It is an unholy desire that tramples everything in its way to get its way. Let us hand over our desires to God and let Him fill us with Him. His desires for us are for everything good, holy, beautiful, and wonderful to be produced in our lives. Let us trust Him. He’s got an amazing track record.

Please note: The verses above come from the HCSB translation of the Bible. 

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990.