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Understanding and Overcoming Temptation Part 3

The Lust of the Flesh

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16 (NKJV)

In these next few devotionals, I would like to look at some ways that God has given us to keep us from stumbling when faced with the temptations or tests from Satan. In the Book of James we are told it is our desires for pleasure that war within the parts of our body that causes us to be tempted to do sinful acts (Jas. 4:1-3). 

And in 1 John 2:15-16 we are told, “Do not love the world or the things of the world.”  This is probably the best wisdom for helping us in dealing with the whole basis of temptation. If we change our heart's desire from the things of the world to the things of God, then temptation will have no effect on us when we see these things in a proper perspective. We need to purpose within our heart to make God our delight and we will soon find our desires beginning to change.  

Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4 (NKJV)

Q: Why are we warned against “Loving” the world or the things of the world?

Because God knew these things would be a distraction to us — they would become more valuable than the things of God, such as compassion, serving and sharing with others, and seeking to do His will. In 1 John 2:16 we can see the three ways in which “all” temptation is introduced to us.  Let’s take a look at these three catagories and see what we can do to properly deal with these temptations.  

1. The Lust of the Flesh

2. The Lust of the Eyes

3. The Pride of Life

The Lust of the Flesh:  The word, “flesh” here is referring to our human nature and its sinful propensity.  It is referring to the true condition of the human heart, which is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).  It is our heart that takes legitimate desires, and twists them and devises evil schemes to carry out—these are works of the flesh. We are told about this in the Book of Galatians.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)

Q: What must we do to deal with the lust of the flesh?

We must practice self-discipline. We see the Apostle Paul speaking of this truth, saying, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).  We need to discipline our own body as well — tell it what to do, not the other way around.  This can only be done by our choosing to think upon proper things — those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). 

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what can we learn about our own flesh?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you spending time practicing spiritual discipline—things such as praying, reading the Bible, stewardship of the resources that God has given you, fellowship with other Christians, and fasting?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Purpose in your heart to do the will of God and crucify your flesh in any area that is in rebellion.  

PRAYER FOR TODAY:  Father, thank You for Your Word and the truths contained within it. Father, I acknowledge Your will for my life and I submit my will to You. Help me to see the areas where I am weak and help me to see these things as You do.  Fill me afresh with Your Spirit today and empower me to do what needs to be done.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


May the Lord bless your day abundantly, Scott






Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000