The dangers of lustful desires and how to overcome them will be in the limelight in this study. The world we live in is full of beautiful things that may arouse in one lustful, uncontrollable desires to own them since human wants are insatiable. Every human being, born after the order of Adam, has this uncontrollable desire called lust inherited from Lucifer who fell from glory as a result of one of the three most powerful lusts – the pride of life. So, it is not strange to see a man wanting to own everything his eyes desire even if it means him committing the worst crime in order to own them. That is why it is called lust – excessive, uncontrollable desire.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Lust is one of the weapons in the armory of the enemy of man, Lucifer, and right from the time of Adam and Eve up until now, that weapon is still paramount in his arsenal. We can see the story of the fall of man in Genesis 3:1-7 but worthy of note is verse 6.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen. 3:6)
Lucifer aroused lust in Eve through her sense of sight and appealed to Eve to eat the forbidden fruit against the instruction of God. Eve eventually succumbed to the appeal of Lucifer, and immediately she saw that the fruit was pleasant to the eyes, she could not resist the urge to eat.
Similarly, this dangerous weapon of Lucifer called lust was also deployed by him against Jesus Christ when, having fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness before the commencement of his ministry, was hungry and must have needed food so badly. Even though Satan appealed to His need for food, Jesus objected to the offer of turning stone into bread in order to gratify and pacify his flesh and hunger.
Having failed in his scheme, the Devil again tried to appeal to his need for comfort and luxury by showing him all the beautiful but perishable things people run after, just as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden where he used subtlety and cunning craftiness to snatch authority and dominion from man.
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;” (Matt. 4:8)
He was out again to do the same thing with Christ to snatch authority and dominion from him.
First, he appealed to the need of Jesus Christ for food by smooth-talking him into turning stone into bread, contrary to God’s will at that moment – Jesus was not to live on bread at that moment; he was to fast and satisfy God’s demand by obeying God’s word, but not to eat bread. To Christ, even though the urge for food at that point was highly irresistible since he was already hungry and famished, physical food was not his priority, but the spiritual food – living by the word of God.
Secondly, even though Jesus Christ had power to turn stone into bread, having been on fasting already for forty days and nights, it will be tantamount to fulfilling the lust of the flesh by eating food, and also, exhibiting the pride of life by showing to Satan he actually had power to do his bidding. This is wisdom displayed! So, as simple as the whole drama appeared to be, Satan was only trying to pitch Jesus against God so the Redeemer could fail in his work of redemption. Satan wanted the Redeemer to fail like Adam, but he was wrong. The Word of God prevailed!
The Three Classes of Lust
The first type of lust mentioned in 1 Pet. 2:16 is the lust of the flesh and Satan has been cunningly appealing to the minds of people just as he did to Eve and Jesus Christ to do those things that only gratify the flesh.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immoralities (adultery, fornication, lesbianism, homosexuality, bestiality, etc) impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition (unnecessary quests for secular and religious titles and positions), dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties,, and other sins like these.” (Gal. 519-21 NLT, emphasis mine).
Other flesh-gratifying habits can include living on stimulants or mind-bending substances such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other dangerous drugs.
An example of one character in the Bible that the devil almost ruined his career and ministry because of the lust of the flesh is King David. After he became a fulfilled man, he allowed pleasure aggravated by lust of his flesh to overwhelm him. As a king who could have many wives by even marrying virgins if he so wished, he still allowed the burning, unquenchable lust in him to make him commit adultery with an already married woman, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah. But thank God, he obtained mercy and found grace and was restored after rigorous prayers and fasting. He survived! But many like him had not been so lucky.
The second category of lust mentioned in our anchor text in 1 Peter 2:16 is the lust of the eyes. This can include obsession with fashion, excessive acquisition of wealth, cars, properties and other beautiful and irresistible things like gold and other expensive jewelries. Satan stupidly wanted to use this to entice Jesus Christ who, indisputably, formed, made and own all things, including what Satan was claiming to belong to him. Only Jesus Christ has the divine patent rights to everything in creation.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3)
Many today have been drawn away from God because of this lust of the eyes through temptation from Satan dangling “all the glory of the earth” before them and promising to give it to them. Many have inadvertently and ignorantly ensnared their soul to Satan for perishable and worthless wealth and materialism.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, o Man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Tim. 6: 6-11)
(To be continued)