Lesson #: 01
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Many turn to this lesson because they are finding that lust is causing them problems, often serious problems, and they do not know what to do about it. It seems that lust is just part of their make up and it is such a strong desire that they cannot overcome.
But you can!
It takes more than an exercise of your will to overcome lust. In fact, it takes a complete core re-arrangement of how you are made. That is accomplished in the sanctification process that follows salvation. Lust is more than a desire. The Bible regards it as an infected or perverted desire. Some would argue that lust is our desire infected with a demonic spirit giving it greater strength. To allow our emotions and desires to become infected or perverted is a sin. Lust is natural to living after the dictates of our selfish fleshly nature, which knows no bounds. In contrast, God intends us to live after His will. This does not come naturally. A desire to love and be loved is not wrong. You were born living after the flesh, but you do not have to go on living that way. To live after the flesh is not real life. It is just "existing", even if we polish that existence. If you are living after the flesh and you are a believer, you will not experience much of the pure righteous life of God, nor will you experience much of the power of God. God has not designed us to live after the fleshly kingdom. God wants us to truly live in His kingdom, the kingdom of God, where we actually do trust our lives to the will of God.
Many would say "I am a believer, and I don't see how to overcome". If you have chosen to follow Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you are still living after the old nature, it is time to learn how to crucify your flesh. Before you were saved, most likely you didn't see lust as a problem. In fact, you may have even thought it was fun. As a believer, the first step is to realized what the problem is. So you are in the beginning stages of lining up your life with Christ. There is more to do. Sanctification is a process. It does not work by following law (rules that we make unto ourselves). It works by believing the Word of God. Yes, by choosing to believe then by fully believing not just "in God" but also in each concept and biblical principle of the scriptures as the foundation of our lives.
Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. [John 14:1]
Most all religions talk about believing in God. But here Jesus says to also believe in Him. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the living word of God. The actual words of God that are our instructions for a pure and righteous life. It has all the precepts, principles and details necessary to define the real God for who He actually is. Everyone who speaks about God is not referring to the same deity. There is only one true God. It is this Jesus Christ that is the word, the actual will of God made alive in the flesh, which defines everything about the one true God. It is in these words that we find these the concepts and defining details that separates the real God from all the false gods. Jesus Christ is the living word of God. In being the defining will of God, the details of His word control all things. This is so easy to miss. The word of God contains the actual condensed details that control everything that relates to mankind. This is true whether we believe it or not.
Since God gave each of us a free will, God allows most people the space and time to determine whether His word is true. That is real love from the one true God.
If you have been taught differently, realize that your time on this earth is for the sole purpose in determining if this Jesus Christ is truly who He says he is. And if He is, then what is your response? If He is the actual living will of God expressed in a manner where you can relate to Him (and He is), then our eternity is conditional upon how we respond to Him. Please don't take this decision lightly!
Because we as believers have actually chosen to believe these biblical concepts and principles as our life's foundation, the everyday decisions we now make should follow what we actually believe. Because we now not only believe in God as the Lord over our lives, we also have chosen to believe in each of the concepts and principles that He has revealed to us in His word. We previously following the many dictates of our fleshly nature (what "I" want, what "I" think, and what "I" feel). We now choose to believe those dictates or the authority of those dictates as dead, even though they continue to scream at us to follow them. It is in our believing the authority of these dictates as dead, that we crucify the flesh. We replace the fleshly dictates with the details, concepts, and principles of the Bible. We are designed to follow something, so we have chosen to place our life on a new foundation, on Jesus Christ. This means believing and following the truth, love and righteousness expressed in the scriptures.
If we have chosen Christ as our lord and savior, then we have to make a decision on what to do with these fleshly dictates that are contrary to Christ. We are still very sensitive to what these fleshly dictates are saying to us, but we chose to believe God over our flesh. The benefits of living after the flesh are not benefits leading to life. Are we willing to choose to believe God to the point of not turning back to our old fleshly nature? Our old fleshly nature will come up with many fleshly justifications. It may choose to believe certain parts of the scriptures and not others. It may even try to justify us with a dead religion in order to keep control over our lives. Our fleshly nature will continue to lead us into an existence that is a downward spiral to death. Just because our emotions get a short term injection of excitement, does not mean the result is leading towards life. God is true and loving with our best interest at heart. We will come to realize that a life of following God does has excitement. But that excitement is clean and in balance and enhances our life. It is not dull and boring. It can be boring and lifeless if someone miss-interprets following God as being legalistic. The instructions in the scriptures are not for legalism, but to define what is real. We choose to believe in God as a blanket or umbrella over our lives. We also choose to believe and accept all the details and concepts of his will as described in His word. It is only through hearing, study and prayer that we become aware of the many concepts and details of God's word. Then, because we actually believe it with our whole heart, the decisions we make in everyday life are based on what we believe and no longer on our old fleshly dictates.
This battle can be intense as Satan does not want you following God. When we choose to follow God this way, we do so with our "whole" heart. Again, our heart is our innermost motivation. If we make the decision to follow God half hearted, then what we are really saying is that we want the benefits of the decision but have not actually made the decision to truly make Jesus Christ our personal Lord and Savior in this area.
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." [Galatians 5:24]
The term "the flesh" is avoided by many ministers as they don't want to offend anyone. Yet understanding what the scriptures mean is vital in having the new life God desires each of us to have.
The term "the flesh" takes on several meanings through out the scriptures. Sometimes it means the physical flesh (our body including the muscles, bone, etc), sometimes is means the animal instincts of our body, sometimes it means our self centered soul (our will, our thinking, and our feelings) and also many times it means all of those. In this scripture it means all of those.
To "have crucified" the flesh does not mean to kill the body. It means to execute judgement and kill the dominate control of everything fleshly.
What is interesting about our flesh, is that it has, from birth, taken control of our lives. We have not only let this happen, we have usually, in ignorance and selfishness, encouraged this lordship over our lives. In reality - our body, our will, our thinking, our emotions, none of them will lead our life in righteousness. NONE!
They were not designed to be our king. Our body and our soul, were designed to be servants to God, with us living in truth, righteousness and love.
"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord." [Matthew 10:24]
Many don't want to give up the flesh, because they believe God will not fulfill their desires. What God does, is make you a new creation, that thinks different, acts different, and your genuine God instilled desires are fulfilled in the design of the life, as He designed it. Lust is shown for what it is and it is crucified and love takes it's place. This includes clean intimacy to satisfy our healthy physical desires in the context of marriage. This genuine love builds one's life rather than works to destroy it like lust is designed to do.
The authority structure of the Natural Man vs the New Creation
This understanding of what rules our life is important to understanding how salvation works. God makes us a new creation when we commit our lives to Him as our Lord and Savior. This is a REAL new creation, even though when we look in the mirror we initially look the same. The new creation, has a new king and it is no longer our soul (self consisting of our mind, will, & emotion). Our new king is Jesus Christ, the living word of God, made alive in us as our new foundation because we have chosen to believe it over what we think, what we feel, and what we want.
In addition the new creation has the Holy Spirit indwelling in their human spirit to guide them into all truth. For the unbeliever, that is a big hole in their life they can never fill regardless of how hard they try. It can only be filled with God and it is designed that way.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [2 Peter 1;4
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. [1 John 2;16]
Grace and peace are multiplied through living in the knowledge of God. Grace is mercy God provides for sins we have not done yet. Mercy is for the sins we have already committed. As we grow we see the abundant grace that is God's provision so we can grow without being cut off. We understand that God loves us and wants us to grow in Him and He has made allowance for our mistakes. We cannot grow without making mistakes. As we grow in our knowledge, we see that grace and it gives us peace that we are safe in God. But more that that we are safe in the will of God which is Jesus Christ, who is the expressed will of God for us come alive in the flesh.
God has given the believer all things that pertain unto life and godliness. Note that this is in past tense, it "hath or has been" given to those who believe. All these things that pertain to life and godliness are not religion, but the in truth, the knowledge and power for us to live in "real life" as we were designed. It is not a partial equipping, but a provision that has given all things for life and godliness. Through God's divine power, are we enabled in these things of life and godliness. We obtain these through faith in our believing of the scriptures, through "knowing Jesus Christ". We are called to walk in Christ's glory and virtue.
Also as we gain this knowledge of God, we realize that God has given us exceeding great promises and precious promises. Promises like we can get no where else. As we go through life it is our hope that keeps us going in times of difficulty. These promises give us a far greater hope if we will choose to believe, obey and trust. The purpose of these promises is to cause us to walk in purity, love, righteousness and faith, living out the Divine nature of God in our lives. This is do-able. It is God's design. There is no other way to take on the divine nature of God. As we live or abide in God, in this divine nature, we escape or do not get caught in the corruption, or sin of the world. The world's corruption comes through lust.
Understanding this concept to avoid the lusts of the world is one of the more important of concepts for the believer. It separates those that follow a dead religion from those that have a genuine relationship with the only true God.
God is showing us in the sentence "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." the cause of the world's corruption, that frustrates so many of us. Lust is far more that sexual lust, although it does includes it. It is easy to see that lust also covers, greed, power, control, etc. desire and much more. It is our acting on our lusts that bring about corruption. We can justify it by ownership, control, selfish satisfaction and so on. Our justifying our lusts really does not make anything right, it just appeases our conscience, for the moment. While lust causes corruption of life, God has designed a plan and a pattern of life to escape this corruption. It is through the will of God as expressed in the scriptures. If we obey our lusts, the corruption that we see in the world around us, will be ours without a fight. In many ways this is natural. It is only by living on a completely different foundation that our natural foundation by which we can live in righteousness.
Lets not confuse lust with the loving desires God has instilled between a husband and a wife. It can be a fine line between the two, however there is a huge difference. Lust is self centered and love is focused on whats best for the other. More on this in the Marriage lessons.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [James 1;14]
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [1 Thessalonians 4;5]
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. [Galatians 5;16]
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [1 Corinthians 10;1-6]
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [Romans 7;7]
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. [Proverbs 6;25]
But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. [Psalms 81;11-14]
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. [Numbers 11;34]
So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel. For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. [Psalms 78;7-30]
That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God. The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; and forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap. In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers. And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people? Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: and he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [1 Corinthians 10;6]
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. [Jude 1:14-21]
Job 31:11 "For that would be a lustful crime;Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.
* Jeremiah 5:8
"They were well-fed lusty horses, each one neighing after his neighbor's wife.
* Jeremiah 13:27
"As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, the lewdness of your prostitution on the hills in the field,I have seen your abominations Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?"
* Ezekiel 16:26 "You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and multiplied your harlotry to make Me angry.
* Ezekiel 23:5 "Oholah played the harlot while she was Mine; and she lusted after her lovers, after the Assyrians, her neighbors,
* Ezekiel 23:7
"She bestowed her harlotries on them, all of whom were the choicest men of Assyria; and with all whom she lusted after, with all their idols she
* Ezekiel 23:8
"She did not forsake her harlotries from the time in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her, and they handled her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.
* Ezekiel 23:9
"Therefore, I gave her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted.
* Ezekiel 23:11 (Whole Chapter)
"Now her sister Oholibah saw this, yet she was more corrupt in her lust than she, and her harlotries were more than the harlotries of her sister.
* Ezekiel 23:12
"She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and officials, the ones near, magnificently dressed, horsemen riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.
* Ezekiel 23:16
"When she saw them she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea.
* Ezekiel 23:20
"She lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses.
* Ezekiel 33:31
"They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful
desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their [Ezek 22:13, 27; Luke 12:15] gain.
* Matthew 5:28
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.
* Romans 1:24
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
* Romans 6:12
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
* Romans 13:14
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
* Ephesians 2:3
Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature
children of wrath, even as the rest.
* Ephesians 4:22
that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
* 1 Thessalonians 4:5
not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
* 2 Timothy 2:22
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
* Titus 3:3
For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
* James 1:14
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
* James 1:15
Thenwhen lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
* James 4:2
You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not
have because you do not ask.
* 1 Peter 1:14
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
* 1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
* 1 Peter 4:2
so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
* 1 Peter 4:3
For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
* 2 Peter 1:4
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
* 2 Peter 3:3
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
* 1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
* 1 John 2:17
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
* Jude 1:16
These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an
* Jude 1:18
that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts."
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