Troublesome Topic: What Jesus Said about Magnets

You may be thinking, “Did Jesus ever use the word ‘magnets’?” You would be right in thinking that He never did use that word. However, I am not talking about the word magnets, but about the idea of magnets as a word picture to help me in my fight against lust. If you have not yet read what I say about magnets and lust, I recommend that you read helpful word pictures and then return here.

Matthew 5:27


You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery.


You were taught, Do not have sex in a way that violates either party’s marriage vows.

Matthew 5:28


But I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman in order to lust after her

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has committed adultery with her in his heart.


But I tell you that if anyone, with lustful intent, seeks an opportunity to look at a woman when she is not as covered up as she should be in public, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Why Was One Just as Serious as the Other?

The answer has to do with the category of sin into which both of these fall. In the Former Covenant, there were various degrees of uncleanness, unintentional sins against God, unintentional sins against other people (which required restitution), and there were deliberate sins committed in open defiance of the known will of God. For the latter there was no sacrifice available in the Former Covenant. All the person could do was throw himself on the mercy of God. See my lesson about deliberate sins.

Both lust and adultery fall into the category of deliberate, defiant sins (the Hebrew word for “defiant” meant “with an upraised fist”). Adultery may well have greater consequences than lust, but both of them are the same in that there was no sacrifice that could atone for the act until Jesus died on the cross.

What Does this Have to Do with Magnets?

Although Jesus never used the word “magnet,” the idea of magnets helps me understand what he was saying in light of the situations I face daily. Certain female body parts are like magnets and if the center of my vision gets close to one of those magnets, my eyes will snap to the magnets even if I don’t want them to. Jesus’ statement here is very clear. It is not sin (as we understand sin) when a sexually stimulating magnet ends up, by no intentional planning on my part, close enough to the focal point of my vision that my eyes snap to the magnet for an instant. It is sin if I purposefully go there, or if I let my eyes linger in order to catch a glimpse that is memorable.

The word Jesus used here is not the most common way of saying “in order to,” rather it is the preposition “towards.” Both ways of saying it show purpose and intent. Anything more than snapping to magnets for only an instant is sin. If I check out a female with the hope of seeing something “interesting” that is sin. Even allowing something to get close enough and having my eyes snap to the magnets can be dangerous because it can lead to sin.

Keeping a pure mind n American society is a very difficult thing. There are “interesting” things to see everywhere. I used to think that the words of Jesus were impossible to fulfill because stimuli is everywhere. Now I see that His words can be followed, but it requires an array of preemptive actions on my part. The safest thing is to keep all female magnets away from the magnets in my eyes so they never snap together. That is difficult to do, but it is possible to achieve it most of the time with careful planning and lots of practice.

My goal is to keep all sexually stimulating images so far from the center of my vision that they are blurry, and I could not remember them with clarity even if I wanted to. However, occasionally, my eyes still snap to the magnets. That is not sin; what I do with that image afterwards does become sin if I choose to recall it and relive it in my mind. Therefore I am working on keeping the magnets far from my center of vision so that they snap to the magnets less frequently.

(The next section in this topical study is called Principles from God’s Covenants that Relate to Lust. You can go to the first lesson of that section by clicking on this link: The Most Crucial Position on This Spiritual Battlefield Is the Home.)

The next lesson in the topic of Lust is: The Canyon of Lust



In ancient Israel the women dressed in such a way that when they were in public there was not much to catch the attention of a man, except her eyes, and possible a bit of shape for just a moment when the wind blew just right. I assume that to “look in order to lust after her” would usually involve some abnormal activity such as going to the river and hiding in the bushes while the women washed the clothes, or finding a vantage point from which one could watch a woman bathe, which usually would require a height advantage like what David had overlooking the house of Uriah and Bathsheba. Today there is plenty of sexual stimuli everywhere one looks in most cultures of the world with the exception of Muslim cultures. God’s standard has not changed, but living by it is exponentially more difficult.

When we studied the sacrificial system of the Former Covenant we learned that there was no sacrifice for purposeful sins committed knowingly and defiantly. If we look at lust and adultery in that light, we realize that those two things were similar in that there was no sacrifice to atone for either one of them. Under the Law, people thought they could get away with lust more easily than adultery, but according to Jesus, in the New Covenant there is little hope for getting away with any such thing.