Love vs. Lust - What's the Difference Between?

I find so many people who call my radio show confused between lust and love. Love is the most abused word in the human language often being used instead of what it really is lust. Lust can cause deep confusion and destruction. So often I will hear a caller say, "I am in love." When in reality, it is not love at all. Sometimes it's infatuation. Other times it's nothing more than raw lust. There are times I want to yell into the microphone at my studio and say to the caller, "Don't call it love because it's not!"

Don't Confuse Love and Lust

As you read this blog, I want you to really think with me about what I'm about to say. It may challenge your thinking and feelings, but in the end, it could clear up a lot of confusion and save you from a lot of pain.

So, what is lust? Lust literally means to over desire. It is when you take something that is good, twist it, and add cravings to it until you are consumed with what you want to have. When we speak of lust as it relates to relationships with the opposite sex, it can be defined this way - "when a person's body is far more important than their soul."
I received some awesome definitions of lust from some in my radio audience:

  • Lust is selfishly dwelling on and fantasizing about sexual activities or entertaining sexually arousing thoughts with no thoughts of the other person's feelings. Love doesn't lust. (Jonathan)
  • Lust is when you look at someone with passion for their body. And don't really see who they truly are or who they want to be other than your trophy and toy. (Megan)
  • Love lasts forever, but lust only lasts for a while. (Deanna)

As I researched this topic of lust, I have found many definitions. I have listed some below.


  • Causes the brain to produce the same reaction as if on cocaine or speed. Lust really is like a drug; it leaves you wanting more. (Dr. Jon Marsden - Director of the National Addiction Center)
  • Comes quickly and leaves quickly.
  • Only wants to get into bed with you.
  • Is a craving for self-gratification, usually sexual?
  • Focuses only on outward appearance.
  • Is impatient.
  • Is rude and manipulates.
  • Seeks to get and never give.
  • Self-centered.
  • Doesn't care about others.
  • Is jealous and insecure.
  • Seeks revenge and doesn't forgive.
  • Covers up and lies about wrongdoings.
  • Will do whatever it wants to get its way.
  • Leaves when it's no longer getting.

Every person who has ever dated or lived has struggled with lust. If you haven't yet, you will.  But you can resist entering into a relationship built on lust. With an understanding of what lust is and its selfish motivations, you can say no to a lust-driven relationship and choose love instead. You deserve love.

Have you ever liked someone a lot and found out they only wanted you for your body? Have you ever thought you loved someone but realized it was only lust? Share your thoughts below. I want to hear from you.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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10 comments on “Love vs. Lust - What's the Difference Between?”

  1. I married a man for 2 years. We were together for 4. All I wanted was the sex. I realize now that I lusted over him. When things didn't go right, I wanted to leave. When I didn't get sex, I wanted to leave. Until I met God I didn't know what love was. Sad truth...

  2. I have love a guy for two good years but he keeps saying he love me but does not he is a lier and he manipulate me by loving him so deeply

  3. I love her but i feel like cheating on her because when she wants sex i give it to her no matter what but whenever i want sex she often gives it to me but not whenever i do like she does i understand if she is tired from working but i still give it to her when im tired from working too so if i cheat is that wrong if i do and i do love her font get me wrong..?

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