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By Felix Ngunjiri Gichuri

Reading: JAMES 1:14-15

 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished (fully grown), it brings forth (gives birth to) death.”

(James 1:14-15, King James Version)

What is Lust?

Lust is “excessive or unrestrained sexual desire.”  It is probably best defined in this context as “sexual desire for what is forbidden.” Sexual lust is willfully allowing pleasurable gratification of wrongfully directed sexual desire that takes place deep inside the mind. To differentiate lust from cover, we can say that lust is a feeling of strong desire, especially of a sexual nature while covetousness is immoderate desire for the possession of something, especially for wealth.

The author of the book of James chapter 1 verses 14-15 doesn’t equate lust with sin. He says that “when lust has conceived (when the lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh combine or team up and become one, lust acquires a life of its own), it gives birth to sin.” (James 1:15 (NASB) Lust becomes sin when it is conceived by lust of eyes teaming up with lust of the flesh and they become one and start controlling your behaviour and actions, thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Every person is tempted when they are willingly carried away or dragged away or drawn away from their place of safety and lured as by a bait by their own lust and then enticed and led on by exciting hope of or desire for something beneficial or pleasurable. Powerful emotions and the possibility of pleasure or benefit or happiness from the object of lust pull the victim towards the bait or object of attraction or the object of desire. The victim is then seduced into yielding to the temptation the way the young man yields to the seduction of the adulterous woman in Proverbs chapter 7. “For at the window of my house through my window lattice I looked out and I saw among the naive – I discerned among the youths – a young man who lacked wisdom. He was passing by the street near her corner, making his way along the road to her house in the twilight, the evening, in the dark of the night. Suddenly a woman came out to meet him! She was dressed like a prostitute and with a secret intent/hidden agenda. (She is loud and rebellious, she does not remain at home – at one time outside, at another in the wide plazas, and by every corner she lies in wait.) So she grabbed him and kissed him, and with a bold expression she said to him, “I have fresh meat at home; today I have fulfilled my religious vows of thanksgiving for the many blessings I have! That is why I came out to meet you, to look for you, and I found you! I have spread my bed with elegant coverings, with richly colored fabric from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning, let’s delight ourselves with sexual intercourse. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a journey of some distance. He has taken a bag of money with him; he will not return until the end of the month.” She persuaded him with persuasive words; with her smooth talk she compelled him. Suddenly he went after her like an ox that goes to the slaughter, like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare till an arrow pierces his liver – like a bird hurrying into a trap, and he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Prov 7:6-23 [NET])

How Lust is Conceived

Lust is conceived when the lust of the eyes (take charge and the eyes and mind are so engrossed or so absorbed in what you are looking at that you don’t notice anything else, it is as if time stops) team up with lust of the flesh (unlawful sexual desires) stimulating your desires and urges so much that they destroy your power of self control. “Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin:” When lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh conceive (team up or join), self control gets blinded by the aroused sexual urges and the minds is blinded by the evil desires raging in the mind. The victim is by then already in enemy territory, deep in the kingdom of the evil one, sliding downhill towards the horrible pit. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor 4:4 [KJV])

Avoid Lust by Submitting Yourselves unto God and then Resisting the Devil

The command of “Submit Yourselves therefore unto God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” that is found in the book of James 4:7 means nothing to those sliding down to the horrible pit of uncontrolled lustful sexual urges. Godliness, reasoning, self-control fly out of the window. The Bible says that God hates the proud people but gives grace to the humble. If you want the devil to flee from you, resist him by rebuking him as you uplift the name of the Lord so that He fights for you. When you submit yourself unto the Lord, the devil will flee from you. If you want the devil to flee from you, resist him by seeking refuge in God, hiding yourself under His wings so that He fights for you.

Avoid Lust by Not Loving the World

Some people ignore God’s warning that tells them not to love the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17) They know that what they are doing is wrong but they do not care and they continue in their consuming lust.

Avoid Lust by Subjecting Every Thought to the Obedience of Christ

People ignore the good practice of subjecting every thought to the obedience of Christ. “Take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5) Every high thing in your mind that exalts itself against the knowledge of God has to be taken captive by being rebuked and cast out of your mind to bring it to be subject to the authority of Christ. Lusts of the flesh have to be rebuked and commanded to die so that Christ may increase in our lives. Lust of the eyes has to be rebuked and eyes commanded not to linger at the point of sexual desire but to “Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2 [KJV])

Avoid Lust by Subjecting every Thought to the Truth Test

Some people somehow forget to subject every thought to the truth test which says that “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil 4:8-9 [KJV]) That truth test rule requires one to reject or refuse or resist anything that does not pass through the truth sieve. The only thoughts that should be allowed to run in your mind are those that are true, honest, just,pure, lovely,of good report and are virtuous. And the God of peace shall be with you. Not the peace that the world gives, but the peace of God that surpasses human understanding.

Avoid Lust by Walking in the Spirit

Some people forget or maybe they are ignoring God’s absolute command through His Holy Spirit who is tagging at their heart telling them to “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” (Gal 5:16) “For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” (Gal 5:17 [HCSB]) Those who are tempted and lured  by their own lust do not want to watch pornography but they find themselves watching pornography and searching for more content that will quench their thirst for more and more as their addiction requires to be satisfied by more hardcore porn. They find themselves unable to stop watching porn. It is as if they are wired to sex or pornography. They are held captive by the porn images and content running in their minds which urges them to open pornography websites again and again.

O Wretched Man That I Am

Paul said that “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who does it, but it is sin living in me that does it. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present within me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;” (Romans 7:15-25 New International Version (NIV)

When Sin is Finished, it Brings Forth Death

After lust is conceived, it acquires a life of its own and gets power to control you and that is when it leads you into sin where you transgress the divine law and offend God. And when sin is accomplished and finished, it brings forth death. Sin is an affront, an insult and an offensive rebellion to the holiness of God. The Bible says that God is holy and in Him there is no darkness at all. “Jesus saith unto Thomas His disciple, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 [KJV]) When one rebels against God, it is tantamount to choosing the opposite of life which is death. 

Sin Means Death

God’s warning concerning sin and His offer of a solution are very loudly shouting that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 6:23 [KJV])  “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:6-11 New King James Version (NKJV) “For if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father! ” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ — seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:13-17 [HCSB])

Look and Live

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15.] The brazen serpent was to be looked upon. The wounded persons were to turn their eyes towards it, and so to be healed. So Christ, lifted up on the Cross, is to be believed on, to be looked upon with the eyes of our heart so that instead of dying, we live. “The Son of man” is “lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because of Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection, if we repent and have faith in the atoning work of Christ for us, we are freed from the penalty and sting of death that leads to spiritual death followed by physical death. The Holy Spirit will then usher us into the glorious presence of God in Heaven to be united with Him for eternity. How wonderful of God that death, which was the ultimate penalty for sin, should be the very means whereby believers are restored to God and to beautiful holy perfection forever! The way out of this tragedy is therefore to “Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross (on our behalf), despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2 [KJV]) and ask Him to be our shepherd so that “He guides us in the paths of righteousness,” (Psalm 23:3) He will help us to “walk in the Spirit so that we do not satisfy the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19 [KJV])

Every sin is rendered null and void if it is repented. Cry to the Saviour and confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you of all your sins and He will save you from your sins and from death. Whosoever shall believe in the saving Grace of Christ Jesus and make Him Lord over his or her life shall not perish, but shall inherit everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.


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