There are natural and right desires that God placed in man at creation, such as the desire for food, comfort, fellowship, etc. However, when we seek to satisfy even these basic desires in ways against God’s will, we open the way to lust of the flesh.
Jesus Himself was tempted and yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). And because Jesus was tempted, He sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) and offers all the power necessary to overcome it. Jesus overcome by the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-4). So, to experience victory over sinful habits, we need to daily dwell on God’s Word and claim His promises through prayer that we may be “more than conqueror(s)” (Romans 8:37) and “always triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
We have a role to play in resisting temptation. The Lord says, “Submit yourself to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you!” (James 4:7). Therefore, we need to run away from sin and the appearance of sin (2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). This will eventually allow us to die to sin (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:24).
Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife when she tempted him (Genesis 39:11–12). When temptation comes, we need to remember that we are not helpless. Martin Luther once said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” We can choose to give in or to resist and not make provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14).
We need to remove ourselves from the association with sin. The apostle James explains it like this: “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).
The Lord in the tenth commandment forbade coveting or lusting for things that don’t belong to us (Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 13:9). When we disregard this commandment and cherish wrong desires in our mind, it leads to sinful acts. Jesus taught that sin starts in the mind (Matthew 5:27–28). Therefore, we need to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) for we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) and His temple must be pure.
In His service,
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