How to Overcome Lust

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13, ESV)

overcoming lust showing a woman eating a banana

Are you battling sins or destructive behaviors that leave you perplexed, ashamed, or distressed? Often, these struggles are rooted in humanity’s formidable enemy—lust. Whether manifesting as sexual temptations, insatiable greed, uncontrolled anger, or financially damaging habits such as excessive spending, lust is an ever-present adversary. This devotional explores the sole effective means for Christians to conquer lust: reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Lust encompasses the desires of both body and mind (Ephesians 2:3), leading to sin (James 1:5). Its power lies in its origin: our desires. Battling against oneself presents a unique challenge. How do you fight against your inclinations?

Lust’s influence transcends age, gender, status, and social standing. It’s a force that defies religion, education, or etiquette. The key to mastering lust lies not in human efforts, often ineffective, but through Christ’s work, particularly the indwelling Holy Spirit.

As Paul reveals in Romans 8:13, overcoming lust requires us to ‘put to death’ the deeds of the body through the Holy Spirit. The key is reliance on the Spirit, not our human abilities. Reflect on the times well-educated individuals acted shamefully, or consider your own experience of personal regrets from yielding to lust.

The process of subduing lust through the Holy Spirit is straightforward yet challenging. When confronted with a sinful desire, we face a choice: succumb to what we desire or follow the Spirit. For instance, when feeling the urge to retaliate or harbor resentment, the Holy Spirit prompts us towards forgiveness and releasing bitterness. Here, we must decide: follow our destructive desires or heed the Spirit’s guidance.

The Holy Spirit primarily leads us through God’s Word. There’s no need to wait for audible voices or visions; the Scriptures are the Spirit’s primary voice in our hearts, illuminating our paths to discern lust from holy desires. Additionally, the Spirit gives us the strength to say no, so we are not alone in this battle.

As you consistently align with the Spirit’s direction, the grip of lustful desires weakens, gradually losing their hold over you. Yield to the Spirit, embrace a life guided by Him and witness the diminishing power of fleshly lusts.


Please take a moment to meditate on Rom. 8:13 above—ponder and mutter upon it.

Apply The Word

Christianity is by the power of the Holy Spirit. As I said in a previous devotional, please do not attempt to fight lust on your own, or it will humiliate you. Instead, learn to yield to the Holy Spirit.


Is lust still ruling in an area in your life? Ask the Spirit to help you overcome it.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7–8, KJV)

Jehovah Mekaddishkem showing washing gloves, cleaning fluid and sponge

As the Great I AM that I AM, God revealed Himself as the Lord who sanctifies His people in the Old Covenant—Jehovah Mekaddishkem. But this was only a shadow of something greater that was coming in the New Testament.

Jehovah Mekaddishkem is the English transliteration of the Hebrew words for “I am the Lord which sanctify you” ( “mekaddish” = sanctify, “kem” = you). Divine names and titles in the Old Testament often reveal an aspect of God in relation to His people.

There are three keywords that underlie the meaning of sanctification: “wash,” “consecrate,” and “separate.” Sanctification essentially means to make something holy. Sinlessness is a core aspect of holiness, but there is more to holiness than sinlessness. It is the very nature of God. However, when used in reference to us humans, it means to be cleaned from sin, set apart for God, and consecrated to Him.

In the passage above, God tells the people first to sanctify themselves and then reveals He is the One who sanctifies them. Thus, He gives us the two sides of sanctification—the God side and the human side. There’s something God does and something His people do for their sanctification.

This truth was only a shadow in the Old Testament. It is in Christ that we see God fully revealed as Jehovah Mekaddishkem to His people through the sanctifying work on the cross. In speaking to the Corinthians, Paul revealed,

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, KJV)

This is Jehovah Mekaddishkem fulfilled in Christ: We were washed and sanctified. Note that these are in past tense, describing something God has already done. The day you received Christ, you received the bath of your life, a heavenly bath by the Spirit of God that removed every stain of sin through the precious blood of Christ. And as you continue to live on earth, the Spirit continues to sanctify you daily.

Following the sanctifying work He has already done in us, He commands us,

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, KJV)

Now that you are clean, washed, and sanctified, He tells us to put that sanctification to work outwardly. Paul explicit states it is what God wants—His will. He gives us a very specific example of sanctification here: abstain from sexual immorality. Few things defile us, like sexual impurity. But sanctification certainly includes more than abstaining from fornication or adultery. As above, it includes living a consecrated and separated life to God daily in the way we talk, act, think, feel, and handle our bodies.

He is Jehovah Mekaddishkem, the God who has Sanctified you in Christ and continues to sanctify you every day.


Is our sanctification completed, ongoing, or both?

Apply the Word

This is the crucial part of this devotional. Until you receive the truth that God has already sanctified you by His Spirit, you will not be empowered to be sanctified practically. Put God’s sanctification power to work in your life daily by faith in the finished work of Christ.


Ask the Lord to help you in your daily walk of sanctification.

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  1. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

    Hebrews 4:12-13; NIV

  2. Wonderful! Lust is the passion of the blind. There has to be consistency with the one on one battles with the Devil and his assistants – demons of whoredom and passion. Resist the Devil and he will flee. Period! Be thankful in every circumstance, for the LORD does not tempt us with evil.

    James 1:13-15; NIV
    When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

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