43. Daily Devotional on ‘EVERY ONE GETS TEMPTED BY HIS OR HER OWN LUST’
by Felix Ngunjiri Gichuri
A daily devotional provides a reading for every day of the year. The Daily Devotional is a call for reflection on what God is telling you today from the scripture in James 1:14-15 [KJV]) “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15 [KJV])
Devote yourself to be reading each of the portions of the verses daily as your spiritual food for your soul and you will realize that we are all tempted by our own lust and an insight is given onto how to overcome our own lust.
“Every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust,
What is Temptation?
To be tempted is to be enticed, seduced, swayed, lured or beguiled. According to the Bible, temptation is an enticement to act in disobedience to God’s will. Temptations come from the world, from the flesh and from the devil. The Bible says in 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Temptation is the pressure to give in to ungodly influences that lead you away from God and into sin. ‘Temptation is the intentional enticement of a person, by some bait —usually pride, always self-gratifying—to disobey God’s revealed Word. The predicate may be demonic or fleshly, but the object is always the distortion of God’s Word and the defiance of God’s mission in the world’ (Dr. Michael A. Milton, 2019). It is not a sin to be tempted. It is the succumbing to the temptation that causes us to sin.
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.” 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, and), it gives birth to sin.” (James 1:15 (NASB)
The second element in the realm of sinful temptation and sinful behavior is that of drawing away. James 1:14 reveals that each and every one of us is tempted unto sin when we are drawn away of our own selfish desires. Here the Greek word translated “drawn away” was often employed in the context of hunting and fishing, wherein the prey was drawn away from some position of safety. This is the manner by which sinful temptation begins to take root in our hearts. Through our own selfish desires, we are drawn away from the place of spiritual safety. We are drawn away from the blessed fellowship of our Lord, from the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, from the governing truth of God’s Word, and from a focused pursuit after righteousness. Through our own selfish desires, an intense draw is placed upon our will to move away from our Lord and His righteousness and to move toward sinful behavior in attitude, word, or action. Temptations are common to every human being born of woman. You are not the first to be tempted nor will you be the last. Our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted because He was real man and real God. “Then Jesus was led up by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt 4:1 [ESV2011])
“There has no temptation overtaken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not let you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1Cor 10:13 [KJV]) Each and every one of us is tempted into sin, and is tempted on a regular basis. Sinful temptation is a characteristic element of our lives upon this earth. It is our nature to be sinful as we are all conceived and born in sin. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm-51:5). “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, King James Bible) Meaning that The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer 17:9, NIV) Each and every one of us is tempted of our own, personal lust (that is, our own selfish desire). Therefore, each and every commission of sin, whether in attitude, word, action, or neglect, is our own personal fault and responsibility.
Ephesians 2:3 indicates concerning our spiritual condition as lost sinners before salvation, “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts [in the selfish de-sires] of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
1 John 2:16 reveals that the very essence of worldliness is selfish desire, saying, “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.” Those who rebel against the Lord do so in “walking after their own lusts,” in walking after their own selfish desires (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:16, 18).
“Every man is tempted when he is drawn away/lured/beguiled/seduced by his own lust, and enticed/ensnared/entrapped/trapped/enters into the bait.
Every person is tempted when they are willingly carried away or dragged away or drawn away from their place of safety and enticed or trapped as by a bait by their own lust i.e. led on by an 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 and gets trapped.
Then when lust hath conceived,
Lust is conceived in a person’s heart when the lust of the eyes draw you or attract you towards the object of desire and the lust of the flesh roar to life igniting body urges which might be uncontrollable depending on how strong your guards are. “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 passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1John 2:15-17 [KJV])
Lust is conceived when the lust of the eyes (that are by then so engrossed or so absorbed in what you are looking at that you don’t notice anything else and it is as if time stops) and the lust of the flesh (unlawful sexual desires) team up to stimulate you so much that they destroy your power of self-control. Their self-control is blinded by their aroused sexual urges. Their minds are blinded by their evil desires. They are 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])
when lust hath conceived, it brings forth (gives birth to) sin
The lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh can then team up to seduce a victim so much that they destroy his or her power of self-control. Their self-control is blinded by their aroused sexual urges. The victim is then beguiled 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])
When sin is finished (or fully grown), it brings (gives birth to) 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 cometh 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.
The consequence of sin is death
God’s warning concerning sin and His offer of a solution are very loudly shouting that sin means death. The bible says 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])
Yielding to sinful desire always results in destructive consequences. Whenever we consent in our heart to be drawn away from our Lord’s fellowship and to be enticed by sin’s deceptive pleasures, the consequence of sin will be death. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, it bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15 [KJV]) You will die in your sins if you do not believe that Jesus can save you from your sins.“Therefore I tell you that you will die in your sins if you do not believe that I am He (who came to save people from their sins), you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
HOW TO OVERCOME LUSTS OF THE EYES AND LUSTS OF THE FLESH
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” For this reason we cannot gain victory over this sin through trying to muster up enough will power on our own. We need Jesus’ grace, strength and power to have victory over sin and to steer clear of this sin. God’s word commands us to “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6:10)
James wrote: “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-souled. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:7-10)
When you are hit with temptation or falls into temptation, get on your knees and cry out to Jesus for deliverance from the temptation. God knows that in this world, we shall be falling into temptations. To avoid being led into temptation, God commands us to pray always so that we do not fall into temptation. Jesus told His disciples a few minutes before He was led to the severest temptation of His life to “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41 [KJV])
We should always on daily basis pray to Our Father who art in heaven not to lead us into temptation. In our daily prayer, always ask God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt 6:13 [KJV])
Thus we must always guard the focus of our hearts “with all diligence,” for out of the heart “are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We must establish the focus of our hearts upon our Lord, ever abiding in His fellowship and strength, upon the Holy Spirit, ever walking after His guidance, upon God’s Word, ever meditating upon its truth and being governed by its principles, and upon the way of righteousness, ever motivated to please the Lord our God.
“The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).
When you fall into temptation, do not panic or feel embarrassed or overwhelmed because you are not the first person on earth to be tempted. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyon what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1Cor 10:13, NIV) Many have gone through that route and overcame the temptation. Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil himself and overcame all the temptations. Jesus was tempted in every way you and I are tempted. Being fully God for being in the state of Holy Trinity and being fully man like we are, He endured the temptations of the devil. Throughout His temptations in Luke 4:1-13, Jesus maintained His integrity by holding firm against all what the devil threw at Him. Because He was tempted as we are, He is able to understand what we face. He is also a powerful example of how to overcome the temptations and testing that comes our way. The secret to His victory was the Word of God and the power of the Spirit of God in Him. The Word of God He quoted and being filled with the Holy Spirit enabled Him to overcome the enemy. “In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37)
When we talk about object of sin, it does not mean women or men. It does not mean that looking at a man or woman is sin. It means that what we are doing in our mind with that man or woman is what makes it an object of desire. Thank God for the beautiful flowers in the field. It is okay to admire the beautiful flowers God has created. Just don’t dwell on them too long with your mind idle or you will find yourself plucking God’s beautiful flowers and turning them into objects of desire in your heart and mind. If you like a flower, you might be tempted to pluck it to please yourself without minding how injurious you were when plucking it but when you love the flower, you will water it to nourish it.
One way you can keep from committing sexual sin is by walking in the Holy Spirit which means to seek God’s will in your use of time and then focusing your mind on and using your time according to God’s will. Paul wrote “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). What does it mean to walk in the Holy Spirit? How do we know when we are walking in the Holy Spirit and when we are not? Paul wrote again in Ephesians 5:15-17,
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
You are walking in the Holy Spirit when you are using your time each day during the week according to God’s will. When you do that, your flesh will not have the opportunity to sin. If you want victory over your flesh, keep it from sinning by filling up your time with not just activities, but Holy Spirit led activities. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection of the authority of Our lord Jesus Christ): lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1Cor 9:27 [KJV])
When you use your free time to share Christ with others and you are walking in the Holy Spirit preaching Christ, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. GO THEREFORE and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus writes in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”