In contemporary usage, a strong craving or desire, especially sexual desire. KJV and earlier English versions frequently used lust in the neutral sense of desire. This older English usage corresponded to the use of the underlying Hebrew and Greek terms which could be used in a positive sense: of the desire of the righteous (Proverbs 10:24), of Christ's desire to eat the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:15), or of Paul's desire to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23). Since lust has taken on the primary meaning of sexual desire, modern translations often replace the KJV's lust with a term with a different nuance. NRSV, for example, used crave/craving (Numbers 11:34;
Psalms 78:18); covet (Romans 7:7); desire (Exodus 15:9;
1 Corinthians 10:6); long for (Revelation 18:14).
The unregenerate (preconversion) life is governed by deceitful lusts or desires (Ephesians 4:22;
Titus 2:12). Following conversion, such fleshly desires compete for control of the individual with spiritual desires (Galatians 5:16-17;
2 Timothy 2:22).
1 John 2:16-17 warns that desires of the flesh and eyes are not from God and will pass away with the sinful world. Here lust or desire includes not only sexual desire but also other vices such as materialism.
James 1:14-15 warns that desire is the beginning of all sin and results in death. Jesus warned that one who lusts has already sinned (Matthew 5:28). Part of God's judgment on sin is to give persons over to their own desires (Romans 1:24). Only the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer makes victory over sinful desires possible (Romans 8:1-2).