To desire is a part of man’s nature. It is natural for man to desire or want fellowship with others; or to desire food or drink; to desire to comfort or to be comforted; to be surrounded with beauty, to love and to be loved… etc. In the beginning all of man’s desires were pure, but when the first man’s natural ability to desire interacted with that evil by which he was tempted, it conceived and gave birth to sin. Now, fallen man’s natural desire is corrupted with what is known as lust. Lust is defined as, an intense, excessive, overwhelming craving or unrestrained desire. Simply stated— lust is desire out of control.
James 1:14-15 [NASU]
James 1:14-15 [AMP]
In the above scripture (verse 14) the Apostle James is telling us that the source of all temptation is in man himself. It is true that external inducements to sin may be placed before him, but they would have no effect, no force if there was not something in himself to which the temptation corresponded, and over which it might have power. There must be some “lust;” some corrupt desire; some wrong inclination; something which is unsatisfied, which is made the foundation of the temptation, and which gives the temptation all its power. For example; If there were no capacity for receiving food, or desire for it, objects placed before us meant to appeal to the appetite could never be made a source of temptation; if there were nothing in the soul which could be regarded as the “lust” for acquisition or possession, gold would not be a temptation; if there were no sensual inclinations, no corrupt sexual desires, that soul would be above the power of temptation in that also.
The Apostle Paul gives us the remedy for controlling desires.
Galatians 5:16 [NASU]
Galatians 5:16 [AMP]
The above verse is not only a command, it is a statement of an important and deeply interesting truth-that the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and inborn inclinations of man’s nature is by submitting to the influences of the Holy Spirit. It is not by philosophy; it is not by mere resolutions to resist them; it is not by the force of education and laws; it is only by admitting into his soul the influence of Christ, and yielding to the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. If one would live under the power and influences of Holy Spirit, he need not fear the sensual and corrupt inborn inclinations of his nature for it would be rendered powerless.
It is because man resists the Holy Spirit that he is ever overcome by the inherited corrupt passions of his nature.
Galatians 5:17 [NASU]
Galatians 5:17 [AMP]
Without the indwelling Spirit of God man’s soul is left to follow the five senses of his body. Once man has received the Spirit of God he discovers that the inclinations and desires of the flesh are contrary to those of the Spirit. They draw him away in an opposite direction, and while the Spirit of God would lead him one way, his carnal nature would lead him another, and thus produce the painful controversy which exists in man’s mind; it is a warfare that can only be won by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus he should “set his mind” on the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:5-8 [NASU]
6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that 5)Romans 8:5 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
7 [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.
8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.
Romans 8:5-8 [AMPC]
This is the true rule about overcoming the inclinations of the carnal nature of every man, and of avoiding the evils of strife and contention. A life of following Christ is often represented as a journey, and the word “walk,” in the scripture, is often equivalent to live (Mark 7:5). Thus the apostle is saying, live under the influences of the Holy Spirit; admit those influences fully into your hearts. Do not resist Him, but yield to all His guidance. What the Holy Spirit would produce Paul states in Galatians 5:22-23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 [NASB]
22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [6)Galatians 5:23 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.that can bring a charge].
Galatians 5:22-23 [AMPC]
If a man would yield his soul to those influences, he would be able to overcome all his innate inclinations; and it is because he resists that Spirit, that he is ever overcome by the corrupt passions of his sin nature. Never was a better, a safer, or an easier rule given to overcome man’s corrupt desires than that is stated here.
James C Sanford
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Galatians 5:16 Lit flesh.|
|2.||↑||Galatians 5:17 Lit flesh.|
|3, 4, 5.||↑||Romans 8:5 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.|
|6.||↑||Galatians 5:23 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.|