Lust of the Flesh, The Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life
Bible Text: 1 John 2:15-17 | Preacher: Apostle Busola Jegede
NOTE: The proof of desire is pursuit. What you pursue shows what you desire. Gal 2:20, Eph 2:8.
LUST OF THE FLESH – Gal 5:19
Lust is a desire for possession and control of some object, person or circumstance. Why does one lust? Because he/she is not trusting the ‘whole rich’ life which is in God alone. Because he/she is not satisfied, is restless or looking for fulfillment of these lusts to make that insatiable longing be satisfied. A lustful person is not convinced that what God is giving is truly enough.
The “lust of the flesh” then is an evil desire for the things of the flesh. The first thing that usually comes to mind is adultery and fornication. “Adultery” is usually used in the Bible to describe all illicit sexual relations between one or more married individuals. “Fornication” is a rather broad term used to describe any illicit sexual conduct, including pre-marital sex or even homosexuality. Adultery and fornication are both “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19), and as such will keep those guilty out of heaven.
So when you look inwards, do you wish you married that young man in your office? You get excited at the sight of pornographic materials? Crave to spend time with someone else other than your husband? Have premarital sex because you want to keep your boyfriend? Dress indecently to show people that you are in tune with latest fashion trends? Get cosmetic surgery for your body to look more attractive? Bleach your skin for more attention of men? The list is endless but certainly, one and more of the listed desires are manifestations of lust of the flesh. one thing is important to note, each time we fulfill one of these desires, we are left with guilt before God. It’s time to deal with it and repent.
LUST OF THE EYES
The “lust of the eyes” speaks of eyes that are delighted with riches and rich possessions; this is the lust of covetousness. A good example of covetousness and its consequence is demonstrated in the parable of the rich fool; Luke 12:16-20. In the Bible we are enjoined to hate and shun covetousness in Exo 18:21 and 20:17. Proverbs tells us “he who hates covetousness will prolong his days” (Prov. 28:16).
Jesus admonishes us to “take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Paul instructs us to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).
How many times have you spread lies about your ‘materially blessed friend’ because you think you should be in her shoes? That designer shoe and bag you bought on credit just to feel among; how will you pay for it? What do you give in return for a trip abroad sponsored by another woman’s man? Why frustrate your husband to buy a property in highbrow area just because your friends live there? Did you really need to buy that jeep when the existing one is in order? Why did you start or intend to start that business you so much want to kill yourself over? We must take time to ask ourselves the main reasons behind some of the actions we take especially when it concerns self-satisfaction.
PRIDE OF LIFE
The pride of life refers partly to the ever present on this world of how we appear to others. It is the concern for power, recognition and identity. A desire to have influence, to be well thought of by others. The “pride of life” is a vain craving for honour and applause, or the stubborn mind-set that will not allow one to repent of and confess their sins. King Saul is just one of many Bible characters who allowed pride to destroy them (1 Sam. 15:1-23).
Think of the story our Lord told about the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee despised others and should have thought of the words of Solomon in Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” The Pharisee prayed as one who needed no forgiveness, and got none. The tax collector prayed as one who needed God’s forgiveness, and he received it. Pride oftentimes keeps us from truly repenting of our sins we will not acknowledge our sin and then repent of it, and irrational pride is so often at the heart of the matter — we cannot stand before the ones whom we sinned against and say, “I have sinned.”
How many people have you consciously told about the number of degrees you have so that they may respect your depth of intelligence? Why must you always lead in any group you find yourself? You rise to speak always at the PTA meeting so the school proprietor may identify with you importance? All your friends were carefully selected because their families are wealthy and popular? How can I go to a church where there is no air conditioning? I must sell my car because my neighbor just bought the same brand; you talk down on people because they are not as beautiful as you are. Stop and think! Where did God start with you?
Someone caught up in the pride of life is not trusting that they are already empowered by God, loved by God and famous with God. So we seek these things elsewhere. We cannot receive God’s life when we are looking for life elsewhere. These other things we are tempted to pursue to give us life and identity are not real. The world will pass away. It is a shadow, an empty promise that cannot fulfill itself. But are we not all still struggling to love the world and acquire the things of the world? We need reminding when we are indulging ourselves or tempted to indulge ourselves that we are seeking a very poor imitation of the life God has for us. Thank God, he has in mind for us so much more than we do!
James 4:1-4 further emphasizes what John is saying and highlights the friendship of the world. We are not to love worldliness. We are not to conform our desires and goals to the sinful society in which we live, though the society rewards those who do so. The passions of the flesh and the praise of men, these are not what are to control the children of God. Rom 12:2.
Life is gift to you from God. What you do with that life is your gift and appreciation back to God. So are you shining brighter as the world gets darker? Isaiah 60:1-3. Unless we stay connected to the source and owner of the life, we will not walk according to God’s divine will and purpose for us.
Some examples of people who focused on God’s purpose.
King David & Apostle Paul & our Lord Jesus Christ.
David focused on God’s will and not his own desires. Psalm 27:3, Acts 13:36. Why are you doing what you do? Is it for yourself or its God’s purpose for you?
Paul focused on what God wanted him to do. You must resolve to act only because there’s God’s purpose in that move. Phil 3:12-14.
Jesus Christ’s ministry in 33 years revealed the signs and wonders of God in many areas, through his behavior, teachings and miracles but He was not distracted when the time came for him to go to the cross. His main purpose was to die for our sin.
When you focus on God, you get divine direction. 1st Tim 6:17. Matt 6:22.
WHY SHOULD WE BOTHER ABOUT GOD’S WILL?
1John 2:17 and 2Peter 3:10-13 gives us clear understanding about this, then 1Cor 7:29-31 gives perspective on what our priorities in life should be.
“The time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” 1Cor 7:29-31
Everything else is secondary to seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.
HOW TO STAY FOCUSED
Fellowship with God and gathering of his children.
Wait on him for direction (Fast and pray).
Study the bible for words of wisdom, knowledge and revelation.
Dedicate a quiet time each day to meditate and relate with God.
Love people genuinely.
Flee from the appearance of sin.
2nd Tim 2:21: Father! Use me for your glory. Make me a vessel unto honour in Jesus name