Desires of the Flesh
Our spiritual enemies attack us with bad desires. The Bible gives us keen insight into the most frequent spiritual attacks we receive, desires of the flesh.
I have a fun book in my library, The Book of Lists: The Original Compendium of Curious Information. It’s quite entertaining with probably more amusing trivia per page than any book written. In it you’ll find things like “10 Words you can’t pronounce correctly” or “18 famous brains, and what they weighed”.
One of the lists that’s not in that book is a list of desires that our spiritual enemies use to attack us. That would be a helpful list, wouldn’t it? With it we could keep a look out for them and learn to react to them or deal with them before they become temptations and then sin.
I have good new for you! In the Bible there is sufficiently clear instruction to enable us to identify the attacking desires of our three enemies. Although there is some overlap, the Bible makes distinctions between the desires of our three enemies. There are many who miss some of the distinctions I’m going to be pointing out to you because they aren’t careful to notice in the context when the scripture says, flesh/sin or world or Satan. These are distinctions God makes in His Word, so we will note them.
Galatians 5:16 tells us if we walk by the Spirit we won’t gratify the desires of the flesh. Then in Galatians 5:19-21 Paul gives us a partial list of the works of the flesh, 15 bad desires we experience which are attacks from the flesh. These definitions are from the Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains.
15 Desires of the Flesh
- sexual immorality – sexual immorality of any kind, sometimes involving prostitution
- impurity – a state of moral impurity especially in relationship to sexual sins
- sensuality – behavior completely lacking in moral restraint, usually implying sexual licentiousness
- idolatry – the worship of idols
- sorcery – the use of magic, often involving drugs and casting spells on people
- enmity – a state of hostility or hatred with someone
- strife – conflict resulting from rivalry and discord
- jealousy – a particularly strong feeling of resentment and jealousy against someone
- fits of anger – a state of intense anger, with the implication of passionate outbursts
- rivalries – a feeling of resentfulness based upon jealousy and implying rivalry, selfish ambition
- dissensions – a division into opposing groups, division, discord
- divisions – a division into different sets or sects
- envy – a state of ill will toward someone because of some real or presumed advantage experienced by that person
- drunkenness – drunk on alcoholic beverages
- orgies – drinking parties involving unrestrained indulgence in alcoholic beverages and accompanying immoral behavior
We don’t experience all of these, but all of us experience some of these.
When you have an urge to do any of these things immediately stop. Recognize you don’t have to do it Romans 6:11-13. Then turn from it and ask the Spirit of God to give you the good desires listed in Galatians 5:22-23 instead of these. You have a choice. Start paying attention to what’s going on in your heart and mind!
What do you find is the hardest part of stopping bad desires? Please leave a question or comment below.