Are you experiencing life and peace? What thoughts control sinful desires and behavior choices? You won’t realize how spiritually dead you are until you put off fleshly desires (lusts), which originate from thoughts that entice you to sin as explained in James 1:14,15. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Ask yourself, what entices me? What is sin and why does it bring death?
- Webster defines sin as the disobedience of moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act.
- The Bible says sin is doing evil in 29 verses of the English Standard Version. Evil is doing things to harm someone or cause trouble.
- The passages of 1Kings 16:19; 2Chronicals 12:14; Jeremiah 2:19 explain how we do evil when we do not seek God but seek to please ourselves.
- James 4:17 tells us sin is when we know the right thing to do and do not do it.
I first want to expand on what I wrote in the blog called Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)
“Put off fleshly desires (sin nature). “For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (see Romans 8:7-8). Gal 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Colossians 3:5-7 tells us to, “Put to death (crucify); therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6) On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7) In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them.” We have divine power to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus (see 2Corinthians 10:3-5). Begin by removing one sinful, wrong thought at a time. Next, put on the corresponding characteristic of the Holy Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness/meekness, faithfulness/truthfulness, and Self-control found on my website.”
Is is possible to never sin? Thanks be to God; He gave us divine power to take every thought captive so we can command the tempting thoughts and desires to leave in Jesus’ Name. It works, try it. But instead of entertaining enticing thoughts, change how you think so you won’t sin. Romans 8:5,6 states, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” So, how do you set your mind on the things of the Spirit? And, what is the Spirit? The Spirit is part of the trinity and refers to the Spirit of God and Christ. You set your mind on the Spirit by doing the next three practices:
- Pray at all times (see Ephesians 6:18; Romans 12:12; and 2Thessalonians 5:17); pray for help when you are being enticed and tempted to sin. Hebrews 2:17,18 states “Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18) For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
- Praise Him and be thankful (see Hebrews 13:15; Revelation 19:5; Philippians 4:6,7; and 2Thessalonians 5:18), and
- Ponder Scripture as you memorize each day (see Psalm 119:11 and Joshua 1:8).
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
When you set your mind on the Spirit, you live by the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh. Romans 8:13 states, “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.” So, when you live according to the Spirit, you will experience life and peace because you are abiding in Christ Jesus (see John 15). But before you can set your mind on the Spirit, you must first submit your mind and life to God (see James 4:7). See the blog posts How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? and Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE to learn how.
So, why does setting your mind on the flesh and sin cause death? Sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:1,2) so you spiritually die, which leads to an eternity in hell, if you don’t repent and seek forgiveness. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Dead means no life, no energy, and no growth; like a branch cut off from a tree. When you sin, you are cut off from God’s power and life force. You may become depressed, fearful, angry, feel purposeless, shame, guilt, and devoid of hope and life. Maybe you have guilt from the past when you lived in the flesh. Ask God to forgive you, then put off the fleshly desires and the guilt, receive God’s forgiveness (see 1John 1:9).
I discovered, I had to ask God to heal my memories of when I gave into enticing thoughts and sinned because those memories recreate the enticement. Memories of sinful acts leads to a vicious cycle of sinning and repentance. Read my short book on my website to heal the memories from your past sinful lifestyle. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories
If you are not feeling life and peace, then read the following definitions of the various fleshly desires identified in Galatians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:5-7. Ask God to reveal if any of them control your thoughts and behavior. To experience freedom, read the last section called “Overcoming Harmful Actions and Addictions” in the third chapter called 3–Breaking Free From Mental Strongholds to learn how to eliminate them.
Sexual immorality is sexual relations outside the limits of a biblical marriage.
Impurity or uncleanness is everything not pleasing to God, who is holy. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any impure and unclean thoughts from watching or reading lustful or violent stories, and interests that glorify sinful desires. Remember, you are the temple of the living God, and He lives in you through the Holy Spirit. For example, a potty mouth is impure and unclean, so you must crucify it by taking the thoughts captive and putting them off.
Sensuality is a fondness for sensual pleasures such as lewd sex, drugs, and alcohol, also passions which are extreme affections or lusts.
Evil desires are longings for anything God forbids (i.e. revenge, wealth, witchcraft, selfish ambition, etc.)
Covetousness is a longing for something someone else has (i.e., you want someone else’s spouse, car, job, wealth, fame, etc.)
Greediness is an uncontrollable desire for more.
Witchcraft and sorcery is the use of evil supernatural power over people and their affairs. Includes astrology, fortune telling, seances, charms, curses, superstition, and trying to contact spirits.
Enmity is hostility or always ready to hate someone and hold a grudge.
Strife is to quarrel, struggle, or be in conflict. This person is argumentative, rebellious, contentious, or contrary.
Jealousy is feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages.
There is hope for complete freedom from the fleshly desires controlling your thoughts and immoral behavior.