No doubt we are sexual beings and sexual desires are part of our make up. Our feelings or desires aren’t the problem, what we do with them is what matters. Lust, first and foremost, occurs in the mind and is not a physical action in and of itself. It does, however, have great potential of becoming an action and indeed a very damaging action. “Lust is a choice to commit in your mind what you’d like to do with your body (Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life).
What is a believer supposed to do when inappropriate sexual desires spring up out of the heart? Certainly, we know they aren’t godly stirring and that carnality only leads to spiritual death or a separation from God’s presence, but coming out of that stronghold of lust has always been quite a struggle for many.
Lust of the ﬂesh is an inordinate craving by a man or woman towards people that they’re not married to. In the context of a holy matrimony between a man and his wife, desiring after your spouse is not a sin because this was designed by God who created marriage and sex in the ﬁrst place.
However, desiring someone that we are not married to, and acting on that desire, is simply a lust of the ﬂesh that has to be addressed because like a thief; it only sneaks in to steal and destroy all that is pure and beautiful. And how do we address this sin? The answer is to lean absolutely on the Holy Spirit and be ready to move by his exact leading per time because he alone knows how we can win over the lies of the devil.
For instance, He will always lead us to a place of word study, prayer, worship or godly conversations that will wake us up from our spiritual slumber and make us spiritually minded once again.
Let’s see some Biblical examples where this lust of the ﬂesh that must be conquered by the power of the holy spirit was allowed to dominate unchecked.
Amnon was a son of king David, an honorable man but all of a sudden, by the devil’s temptation, inﬂuence and wiles, he started to lust after his sister. By all means, he decided that he had to sleep with his sister and he went to strange lengths to fulﬁl that desire. This story is captured in 2 Samuel 13:1-17. (AMP)
“It happened afterwards that Absalom, the son of David, had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon, her half-brother, the son of David was in love with her. Amnon was so frustrated because of his half sister Tamar that he made himself sick, for she was a virgin, and Amnon thought it impossible for him to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of shimeah, David’s brother and Jonadab was a very shrewd, cunning man. He said to Amnon, why are you, the king son so depressed morning after morning? Will you not tell me? And Amnon said to him, I am in love with Tamar, my half-brother Absalom’s sister, Jonadab said to him, go to bed and pretend you are sick, and when your father David comes to see you, say to him ‘just let my sister Tamar come and serve me food, and let her prepare it in my sight, so that I may see it and eat it from her hands.’ so Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick, and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in my sight, so that I may eat from her hand. Then David sent word to the house for Tamar, saying go now to your brother Amnon’s house, and prepare some food for him. So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and he was in bed. And she took dough and kneaded it, and made cakes in his sight, and baked them. She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat, and Amnon said, have everyone leave me. So everyone left him, except Tamar. Then Amnon said to Tamar, bring the food into the bedroom so that I may eat from your hand. So Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her half-brother Amnon. When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said come, lie with me my sister. She replied, No my brother! Do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel, do not do this disgraceful thing! As for me, how could I get rid of my shame and disgrace? And you, you will be considered one of the fools in Israel. So now, just speak to the king about taking me as your wife, for he will not withhold me from you. But he would not listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon became extremely hateful toward her. For his hatred toward her was greater than the love which he had for her. And Amnon said to her, get up and get out!
But she said, ‘No, because this wrong of sending me away is worse than the other that you have done to me ; but he would not listen to her. Instead, he called his young man who was his personal servant and said, now throw this woman out of my presence and bolt the door behind her”.
After fulﬁling that lust, suddenly he hated her because she reminded him of how vile he had become. Eventually, he lost his life for this reason because Tamar’s brother ensured that he got his revenge for the shame his sister went through at Amnon’s hands. Lust cut short Amnon’s life and robbed him of a glorious future. His inability to put his desires under control ended on a terrible note for him.
That is why we need the Holy Spirit. Self control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If you’re full of the Spirit, there will be evident manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in you and self control is one of them. We’re meant to dominate our desires and not the other way round.
Another person of the royal lineage who was also captured by lust was king David. For David, it was the sight of Bathsheba’s naked body that stirred him up and aroused the lust of the ﬂesh in him. David happened to be idle and wandering about at a time war was ongoing, when Kings were supposed to be at the battle front.
2 Samuel 11:1-5 (AMP) says ;
“Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servant with him, and all the ﬁghting men of Israel, and they destroyed the ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
One evening, David got up from his couch and was walking on the ﬂat roof of the king palace, and from there he saw a woman bathing, and she was very beautiful in appearance. David sent word and inquired about the woman. Someone said, is this not Bathsheba the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? David sent messengers and took her, when she came to him, he lay with her. And when she was puriﬁed from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived ;and she sent word and told David, I am pregnant”.
Eventually, that single incident became a stain on his history as a friend of God and as a king. It also led to murder, brought regrets and consequences that were far reaching and a great damage to his family.
The reason why the lust of ﬂesh must not be allowed to linger without checking it out immediately is that it can take over a person till he or she literally loses all sense of what is moral, right and sensible. In no time, it dominate not just the ﬂesh but also the mind, continuing a cycle of never ending bondage till it brings ruin and emptiness.
How can we forget king Solomon who was fervently serving God one moment and by the next moment, totally sinking in sin! King Solomon manifested such an extreme symptom of the lust of the ﬂesh by marrying 700 wives and in addition, also got for himself 300 concubines.
How could one single man have such lustful desires?
1 kings 11:1-8 (AMP)
“Now king Solomon deﬁnitely loved many foreign women along with the daughter of pharaoh, moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, sidoniam, and Hittite women, from the very nations of whom the lord said to the Israelites, you shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for the result will be that they will turn away your hearts to follow their gods, yet Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives princesses, and 300 concubines, and his wives turned his heart away from God. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods, and his heart was not completely devoted to the lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the fertility goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom, the horror detestable idol of the Ammonites,. Solomon did evil things in the sight of the lord, and did not follow the lord fully, as his father David has done. Then Solomon built a new high place for worshipping Moab,on the hill which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech, the horror detestable idol of the sons of Amnon. And he did the same for all of his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacriﬁced to their gods.
It is obvious that because he never dealt with lust, he ended up going deeper into an endless dark pit of immorality. His ‘love’ for foreign women turned his heart away from God who had appeared to him twice (1Kings 11:9, NIV).It doesn’t matter how deep the encounter you have had with God, if you don’t deal with lust and sexual sins in your heart, you’ll end up just like Solomon. Therefore, guard your heart against lust. Do not allow lustful thoughts build up in your heart. Deal with them as they spring up.
As for Samson, his great undoing was his lust for women. Lust and desire blinded Samson till he lost so much of his glorious future on the laps of Delilah.
“The sin of lust occurs when we allow ourselves illicit sexual pleasure by misusing sexual desire. Do not believe the lie that you cannot deny yourself illicit gratification when tempted. We can and must whenever we are tempted to sin”.
Practical Steps to Overcome Lust.
All forms of lust of the of the flesh in one way or another begins with the eyes, you need to know that what you focus your eyes on can determine your next minute, or the next day or month. Your next move can be dictated by your eyes.
Many of us don’t know the power of the eyes, we often talk about the tongue, we say the tongue is powerful, we say the mind and the heart are powerful, but we neglect the eyes.
The eyes are the light of the body, and what you look at is what your body, your mind and your brain will work on and work towards (Matthew 6:22-23)
If you spend your time looking at another man or woman lustfully, you will open up the door for the spirit of lust to come in. If you spend your time looking at indecent images on the internet, you will open up the door for spirit of lust to come in, and once the spirit of lust has a stronghold in your life, it wouldn’t leave without a fight. Satan never let go of any stronghold easily. He wouldn’t give up any ground he has gained; this is why so many people struggle with porn secretly for five, ten, or even twenty years.
I was introduced to pornographic materials when I was in secondary school. I attended a boarding school, so it was common among senior students to have these illicit materials. When I came across this pornographic material, I was held captive to lust for over eighteen years. So, what started while I was a teenager in school spilled over to my adult years.
Your eyes are very powerful, they are connected to the brain and the mind. This was what caused David to sin. David woke up from his couch and he went up to the roof of the palace, strolling when he saw Bathsheba bathing. The Bible didn’t just say he looked but he saw, he concentrated on the nakedness of Bathsheba. David did not avert his gaze. His eyes saw and his body desired what he saw
2 Samuel 11:2 (AMP)
“One evening David got up from his couch and was walking on the roof of the kings palace, and from there he saw a woman bathing, and she was very beautiful in appearance”.
After David saw this woman, his mind followed and it told him the woman is beautiful. If this two are already working hand in hand, the eyes and the mind, sin is already knocking at the door of one’s life. Fornication is already knocking, adultery is already knocking, masturbation is already knocking at the door, all sort of immorality are knocking at the door.
What are you watching? What are you looking at? What are you focusing your eyes on? Are you opening the door for the spirit of lust to gain access into your life?
Jesus sounded this warning and you need to heed to it if you must live a victorious life.
Matthew 5:27-28 (AMP)
“You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart“.
It is not until you have slept with someone that you have committed adultery. Lust starts with looking. The devil does not want you to escape his stronghold to live a holy life, so the fight to get free moves from the physical to spiritual, and you need to know you are not fighting in the physical anymore.
At this stage, the power of God is needed to escape. You can not fight this spirit of lust alone. You need Jesus to help you get out of the mess you have put yourself into, and that is why must accept Jesus in your life if you have not.
I encourage you today to be diligent with what you watch, protect your eyes. So away with everything that pulls you towards lustful thoughts. If it’s watching certain movies, listening to some musics and TV shows, then don’t watch them anymore. Strong men and women have fallen because of their eyes. You can ask King David
Job 31:1 (NLT)
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman”
We all know we can’t go through life with our eyes closed, it’s not practical. However, when you’re tempted to look at immoral images, you can decide not to look again. Why do you need to look for a second time? Or a third time?
When I got my deliverance, one of the practical steps I took was not to look again. I keep telling myself don’t look, if a woman pass by and I’m tempted to look the second time or the third time, I say to myself don’t look. You can also do that.
Every lust of the flesh started with someone looking, it only takes you looking and lusting. That is the door the devil needs, that is the door the spirit of lust needs.
If you’re reading this and you’re struggling with lustful thoughts and immorality, I’d like recommend the following scriptures. Meditate on it. Eat it. Study it until it becomes real to you. The Word is alive. The Word works. Yes, I am a living testimony.
Galatians 2:20(AMP)- “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me”.
Romans 6:6 (KJV)- “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin”.
Romans 12:2 (KJV)- I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP)- “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body”.
If you’re reading this and you’re yet to be numbered among the family of God, I appeal to you as Christ’s ambassador and on His behalf: Be reconciled to God. Give your heart to Him. You have absolutely nothing to lose. Come and taste of the reckless love of the Father. Let him into your heart as you say this prayer:
Lord Jesus, come into my life. I accept You as my Lord and Personal Saviour. I believe in my heart You died and rose from the dead to save me. I am yours from henceforth. Thank You Lord for saving me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you said this prayer, you can reach out on this email address: email@example.com. I’d love to pray for you and with you. God bless you
Written by: Solomon Elias (Twitter @soleyroyale)