Diagnosing Our Problem with Sin: 3 Sources of Evil Desires

Evil Desires that Lead to Sin

Understanding the role of evil desires in leading us to sin is fundamental to our Christian lives. If you’ve ever found yourself in the position of having done something you wished you hadn’t, part of the reason is evil desires. Let’s explore the sources of evil desires.

A man’s car wasn’t running well, so he took it to a mechanic and had him listen to it. “What does that sound like to you?” he asked. With a smile on his face the mechanic said, “It sounds like a vacation in Hawaii for me!”

Sometimes what seems like a simple problem with our car is much more than that! In fact, when we ask what’s actually wrong the answer is often something like, “Well it could be this or it could be that or it could even be something else.”

car problems - sources of evil desires

The same is true with the issue of sin in our lives. Sin doesn’t have just one cause. In our last post we talked about evil desires as the first step in the path that leads to sin. The book of James doesn’t tell us where those evil desires come from but other verses in the Bible do.

First, let’s define “desire.” It is an urge or craving for something. It’s a morally neutral term. You can desire something good, such as wanting to be helpful or something neutral, such as a desire to eat or something bad, such as revenge. It’s the object of the desire that determines if it is good, neutral or bad. Here are examples from the Bible.

  • Good desire: the Spirit creates good desires for us Galatians 5:17. cf. Philippians 1:23
  • Neutral desire: Jesus desired to eat the Passover meal with his disciples before He died Luke 22:15.
  • Bad desire: In the last days some will follow ungodly desires Jude 18.

Let’s dig a bit deeper. When we examine all the verses in the New Testament where the term “desire” is used, we see three sources of evil desires.

3 Sources of Evil Desires

  1. Flesh or sin nature: Romans 6:12, Galatians 5:16, 19-21
  2. World system: 1 John 2:16, Titus 2:12
  3. Satan: John 8:44

Evil desires are attacks from our three spiritual enemies to get us to sin.

Although it’s theoretically possible, I don’t know anyone who sits around and thinks, “You know, I haven’t worried about anything in a while, I’d better think of something to get panicked about.” Or, “Hmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve blown my temper and acted in socially inappropriate ways, I guess it’s time.”

No one plans on feeling anxious, depressed, enraged, envious or any of the other long list of evil desires that plague us.

Here are three take-aways for you today.

  1. Start paying attention to when evil desires attack your mind.
  2. Stop feeling guilty for having evil desires. Guilt is for sin and they aren’t sin yet.
  3. Develop a strategy to deal with evil desires before they become sin.

Tomorrow we’re going to look at the different kinds of evil desires our enemies use to attack us.

How have you found this helpful in your Christian life? Please leave a question or comment below.