Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Ephesians 2:3, KJV)
The lust of the flesh is a recurrent theme in the New Testament. You find it repeatedly used in relation to our walk with the Holy Spirit where the “flesh lusted against the Spirit”. If you really want to understand the corruption of the fallen human nature, how sin operates in us and most importantly, how Satan rules and reigns over humanity in a subtle way, then you should carefully grasp what the Lord calls the lust of the flesh.
I will briefly look at the two key words “lusts” and “flesh” and then put them together to help you understand what it means. Let us begin with the flesh. In Eph. 2:3 above, Paul talks about our former life in the lusts of the flesh. Flesh here refers to our purely human nature without the Spirit of God, which includes both the outer body and the inner soul(mind, emotions, will). Paul gives us a remarkable explanation of what flesh is, including the nuances of its usage in the verse above. Following “lusts of our flesh”, he adds “ fulfilling the desires of the flesh( this case = body) and of the mind”.
The second keyword is lust. God made us with desires and passions and these have powerful control over us. They are the needs you sense and what you WANT. Desires work through every part of your being, body and soul. For example, there are some passions that are desires of the body, such as hunger, thirst or sexual desire. Others derive from our soul such as the desire for wealth, power, etc. Lust is simply desires and passions that have gone wrong or are directed towards sinful things. Desire or the freewill to want something is not wrong. God created us with it. However, when that desire gets corrupted, that is, if you want something wrong or sinful, that desire is off-track and that is what is called lust. Now let us put the two words together so you can see why the lust of the flesh is so powerful.
The flesh is you. It is not some part of you or something just attached to you. It is you, your body and heart put together. Lust is sinful desire. Lust of the flesh is when you desire or want something sinful. It is not the devil or God or someone else desiring it. It is you, and because it is you, you will do everything to ensure you get what you want. That is just the way human nature works. This explains why lust of the flesh is Satan’s most powerful force in the whole universe. If he can get you to want it, then it is you and not him. He knows if you desire it and want it, you have the authority from God as a human being to choose what you want and go for it, even with the freewill to go against what God has commanded. This is how Satan rules over human beings without us realizing we are doing his will, all the way thinking it is us. I have also taught about this in a prior Glory & Grace Live Bible study.
Lust of the flesh is simply your natural human passions or desires which are agains the will of God. They are your desires, and since it is you, you will often do everything possible to fulfill them. And once lust is fulfilled it produces sin and death. Why is Satan interested in lust? It is a sure way to kill us. Sexual lust has killed marriages through adultery and divorce. Lust for fame has caused some people to sell their souls to the devil. Lust for money has caused some people to leave the path of righteousness and start living in sinful ways. Lust always comes with sin and death. The scripture tells us the only way to escape lust is to walk by the Spirit. Simply yield and obey God rather than blindly follow evil or sinful passions. Walk in the Spirit therefore, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh!
Take a moment to review the devotional above and ensure you fully understand every bit of it. Then define lust of the flesh in your own words.
APPLY THE WORD
Walk in the Spirit! That means if you have a feeling, desire, craving, passion, etc for something, and it does not tie with the Word of God, that is lust knocking at your door. It is not always sexual. It is any desire, passion, feeling, etc that is sinful and will lead you to do things God does not want. Make up your mind not to serve lusts anymore. The world functions by lusts and Satan loves it wholeheartedly. Escape the corruption of the world by yielding to the Spirit and following His leadership in your life.
Ask the Lord to help you mortify the lust of the flesh in your life as you make up your mind to yield to the Spirit in everything.