Bible words explained: The lust of the flesh
VIDEO: How to recognize and overcome the passions and desires of the flesh.
The Bible speaks about the lust of the flesh, or the passions and desires of the flesh. In this episode of the Bible words explained series we discuss what these are, how they affect us, and how we can overcome them.
Audio Transcript: The lust of the flesh
My flesh is full of many lusts and desires, which we also sometimes call “my will.” My will is to satisfy myself without considering what is right before God. These desires can take many forms. The lust for envy, for example, where I am tempted to give in to dissatisfaction and dislike, because others seem to have more advantages than I do. Or laziness. The temptation not to give up my time or energy for somebody else. The lusts always place me at the center, rather than God or other people.
Temptation is not the outward circumstance, or what other people say and do. In James 1:4 he writes, “… each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” These things provoke a reaction from the lusts in my flesh, which results in a thought or feeling which is the temptation.
Satan also knows about my lusts and desires, and he tries to “push my buttons.” When those lusts and desires are provoked, then I am in the moment of temptation. Then I have a choice to make. The temptation – that is the actual reaction from my lusts and desires – isn’t the same as committing sin. James continues in verse 15, “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin …” What this means is that it isn’t until I agree with my own will, or my lusts and desires, that it becomes sin. This means that I can also overcome them. Because the lusts and desires are inside of me, I can deny them by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can’t always do something about the external situations, but I can choose what to do about the reaction from the lusts and desires in my flesh. This is what Paul writes about in Galatians 5:24, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions [or lusts] and desires.” Somebody who is crucified always dies and Paul uses this picture to show what happens to the lusts and desires when I don’t agree with them and don’t give in to them. In this way, I can live an overcoming life as long as I live, and can live a well-pleasing life for God. I become a new creation.
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