Are you struggling with any sort of physical temptation? It might be over-eating or restricting; sex outside God’s design or even withholding yourself from your spouse; over-training or not exercising at all; or the abuse of alcohol and drugs. John referenced this as the lust of the flesh (see 1 John 2:16).
Regarding our physical tension, Paul put it this way: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). When tempted by the lust of the flesh, we need to seek God’s doorway out. The path to that doorway is lit by the Holy Spirit who unlocks the door and leads us to Christ. Pursuing the heart of Christ transforms our focus. Paul summarized: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Christ is the solution to our conflict. Paul imparted: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lusts” (Romans 13:14 NASB). The NIV translates the latter part of his command as: “Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” We need to say, yes to Christ who empowers us to say, no to the lust of the flesh. Christ is ready, willing, and able to deliver us from our worldly temptations. He transforms our minds when we surrender every thought to Him: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
We experience the hope of Christ through: (1) the Word of God, (2) the people of God, and (3) the Spirit of God. We connect with the Word of God when we read the wisdom of the Bible. Jesus quoted Scripture when He was tempted by Satan. Memorizing verses from the Bible is one of our most powerful tools to learn wisdom and combat the lust of the flesh. We connect with the people of God when we enter into mutual-submission with another Christ-follower. We connect with the Spirit of God when we pray, modeling Christ’s prayer of confidence in the loving father who leads us away from temptation and delivers us from evil (see Matthew 6:13). When we humble our hearts to the Spirit of God, His wisdom will flow through us: “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil” (Proverbs 16:6).
What physical temptation is luring you toward life apart from God? Regardless of how dark it is, a glimmer of God’s light is shining through. Turn toward the light. The Holy Spirit is guiding you toward the doorway to freedom. Confess your sin to your heavenly Father and a trusted friend. Develop a restoration plan that leads you to God’s design of abundant and eternal life. The Word of God, the people of God, and the Spirit of God will make you new again and use you to bring His light to others.