Listen:  142.5

The word “lust” means a “strong desire of any kind.” It may be sexual in nature, but it is not limited to that. It is often used of one who lusts after or “covets” things like money or material possessions. Paul referred to this in Romans 7:7-8, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.” (NKJV)  Paul was relating his own experience in this chapter and I believe he went through this time of deep exercise shortly after his conversion. After he was saved he thought, as many of us do, that he could please God and bring glory to Him by keeping the law. He learned, through bitter experience, that the more he tried to keep the law, the more he failed. Listen to his words of defeat in verses 15-20, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me” (NASB). These verses describe the conflict between the two natures in a believer; the new nature wants to do good but the old nature, which is called “the flesh,” rears its ugly head and wins the battle every time. Now even though Paul did not learn how to overcome lust at this point, he did learn an invaluable lesson, he learned not to expect anything good from the old nature. This is the lesson we must all learn when trying to overcome lust or any other sin; we do NOT have any power in ourselves to live for the glory of God. Until we lay hold of this truth, it will indeed be impossible to overcome lust or any other sin.

So, is this the normal Christian experience? Is there no way of deliverance from the sin that dwells in us? Is there not a way of victory that allows us to please God and bring glory to His name? We are happy to say that this does NOT have to be our experience, for God has provided all that we need to lead a victorious Christian life! The answer is found in Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath set me free from the law of sin and death.” In chapter 7, Paul was occupied with the Law, thinking he had the power in himself to obey it and bear fruit for God, but in this verse he learned that the secret of victory over sin is by being occupied with Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit! Earlier in Romans 6:14 we learn, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” If the Law is our object, we will fail, but if we live in the power of God’s grace, by having Christ as the object of our hearts, we will be delivered from the bondage of sin.

Later, in Romans 13:14, we read of this same truth, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Just as we “put on clothes” at the beginning of each day, we are to start each day by “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our hearts should be absorbed with Him and all of His glory, and if they are, we will be changed into His image, as we see in 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (NKJV). As the Spirit presents Christ to us through the Word, we will become more like Christ and when men see us, they won’t just see the clothes we are wearing, they’ll see Christ and His life shining out of us! By putting on Christ we will, in effect, “make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” The life of Christ in us and being displayed through us will prevent the flesh from gaining the victory in our lives. This, dear friend, is the answer to your dilemma! May you take these scriptures to heart and allow the Spirit of God to occupy you with Christ. If you do, YOU WILL OVERCOME LUST, as Galatians 5:16 assures us, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  (142.5)  (DO)