Love vs lust - two separate states to be sure, but one of our more human failings is that we can easily get lost in this distinction. As we talked about in What Is Love, real love includes all of the characteristics that make us humble, kind, sincere, patient, selfless and forgiving. It's something that lasts because these same characteristics last.
By comparison, lust is erotic and more physical, lasting only as long as our physical hunger lasts. While it may recur, lust is temporary and does not bring us long term fulfillment. Sometimes referred to as "eros”, lust is prompted by our human desire for physical gratification, not by any sincere emotional attachment to our partner. Fortunately, we are best able to fill this need by making real love to the one that matters most to us, our life partner.
As the ultimate guidebook on how we are to live, the Bible talks a great deal about love vs. lust. Some examples (among many):
“You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.” --Numbers 15: 39, Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." --Matthew 5: 27-29, Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV)
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” --1 John 2: 15-17, Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV)
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." -- I Corinthians 13: 4-8, Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV)
Absolutely true! Love, not lust is the key to our happiness, the key to our relationships, and truly the greatest gift of all. When we practice it, when we give it, we will get it many times over. That supply is endless, and knowing how to practice it will make our lives and our relationships all the richer!