Q: #533. What is the difference between love and lust in the Bible?
A: The Bible clearly shows us that there is a difference between “love” and “lust.” Here are two places which show these two words being contrasted.
(Gal 5:22-24) But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) meekness, temperance: against such as there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affection and LUSTS.
(2 Tim 2:22)(NASB) Now flee from youthful LUSTS and pursue righteousness, faith, LOVE, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
*Caps emphasis for LOVE and LUSTS mine*
Following is chart showing some of the differences between love and lust.
LOVE IS LUST IS
A commitment A feeling
Is God-directed Is self-directed
Is patient Expects immediate satisfaction
A commandment An emotion
A decision we make A desire we have
Wants to give Wants to get
Dying to self Living for self
Looks at God for total completion Looks at people or things for total completion
A good definition that I use for “lust” is: “A strong desire or preoccupation with obtaining something that you want so badly that you cannot be happy unless you get it.”
Finally, let’s look at some verses on “love” and “lust.”
Verses on love:
(1 Cor 13:4-7)(NASB) Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, (5) does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, (6) does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; (7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Pet 4:8)(NASB) Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
(Jn 13:34) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
(Rom 13:10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
(Rom 12:9)(NASB) Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
(1 Jn 4:19)(NASB) We love, because He first loved us.
Verses on lust:
(James 1:14-15) but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and is enticed. (15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
(James 4:3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
(Mt 5:28) but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
(1 Jn 2:16-17) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
(1 Pet 2:11) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
(Rom 13:14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.