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Life's "Little" Temptations (Part 1. Lust Of The Flesh)

Updated on March 3, 2017

This is one of a series of independent study articles. (Part 1 of 3 in series)

* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses is mine *

How many times a day does someone urge you to give in to your temptations? I dare say that hundreds of times a day promptings will crash into your consciousness. And that is only if we are counting the promptings that are audible to all. There are also those urgings to give in by those in the spirit realm, that no one hears but you. And then one must also consider the motivations of our own sinful flesh, which need no prompting, but the desire to sin comes from within.

How many commercials have you heard that encourage things in you that you later regretted doing? Buy that car. Eat that pizza or that candy bar, instant pleasure and instant gratification guaranteed. We immediately recognize such ads as:

"One of life's little pleasures."

"Because I'm worth it."

"Go ahead, you know you want to."

"Be good to yourself."

"Pamper yourself."

"Baby yourself."

"Give in to Decadent chocolate."

"Devilishly good."

...and on, and on, and on it goes, with constant bombardment from TV, magazines, media of all sorts, from friends (supposedly) and family thinking they're giving you good advice...

"I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you. And you have overcome the wicked one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lusts of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:12-17)

A mind can only take so much when that mind is not dwelling on God. Then it will rationalize away any mandate against what the flesh wants. We will do the will of the world, the flesh, and the devil and have no power over such until He comes to redeem these sinful bodies.

The flesh; we Christians bandy around this term so much. It is used to describe so much of what we believe in terms of life and human existence. It is our experience before we are saved, and after will be our snare, if we do not live our lives as unto the LORD.

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

But the definition of that term "flesh" though simple to understand, is really a tad bit more complicated to define in the Greek language. The Greek word for flesh is sarx and literally means what lies beneath the skin and contains the life of a creature. So, in the case of animals, sarx was used to refer to that which was eaten and that which was discarded, after the animal's skin was taken for its many uses.The sarx is the flesh. The [sarx] contained the life of the animal and that life was in its blood.

"Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat [basar Heb. / sarx Gr.]." (Deuteronomy 12:23)

"Whatever man of the children of Israel, or the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal, or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, 'You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.'" (Leviticus 17:13-14)

In the case of humans, sarx refers to everything beneath the skin and that surrounds the spirit. The sarx, the flesh, is thought to surround the spirit, The life and the spirit are inward. So it was not a leap of logic to refer to the human sinful man as "a fleshly man," since the flesh, the sarx, surrounds the spirit. The inward spiritual man is contained, literally, in the sinful flesh of each person. In this context, we can understand how we, as born-again children of God, can sin so easily. The problem lies in our flesh. We are highly susceptible to suggestion of the world, the flesh, and of course, the devil. We are susceptible, a part of us, our flesh, longs to sin already. Our flesh wants to be pampered, to be coddled, to be given every consideration. It lusts after pleasure and resists everything that would delay that pleasure.

We live in a conflicted situation. It doesn't have to be that way but we ourselves grab hold of sin and fall into sin from time to time. When we, as Christians, live as unto Christ and His righteousness, life makes sense to us for we are "new creatures in Christ." God Himself makes our paths straight. Not that we have no problems, but what we have is the Spirit of Christ taking us by the hand and leading us in the way we should go. When our flesh kicks into high gear we are distracted. There are many reasons that we can identify as our weaknesses or our lusts, "the sin that so easily besets us." When we allow ourselves to be distracted we take our eyes off of Jesus our LORD. What we want becomes more important than what God wants and we rationalize ourselves into sinning, granting what the flesh wants.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"Teach me Your way O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies." (Psalm 27:11)

"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)

Paul, the apostle, was inspired to describe this phenomenon when he wrote to the Christians in Rome. He explained the frustration of how one part of him wanted to serve God and walk with Him, but all the time sin was present in him and part of him wanted to sin as well. His heart's desire was to never sin but he found that his flesh longed for it and wanted it, so a sort of "tug of war" happened where sin did win from time to time. It has been my practice to insert brackets into Scripture so, in this case, I think sometimes the language could be clearer if the parts were identified as they are mentioned. I find the explanation is clearer if it is said right after the words of Scripture here, so I have approached this passage in this way. Also, you will see how the Scripture holds up the explanation as it goes along. The problem comes when one takes one or two verses out of context and then comes to the conclusion that Paul was saying that he had no choice but to sin or was saying that it was not his fault that he had sinned. Paul was not saying either of these things but merely saying that "in Christ" it was possible to walk with God, despite the pull to sin and that when one did fall into sin there was a redemption and one did not need to stay in sin.

"For we know the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. [The law that Christians are to obey, (the ten commandments or the Great Commandment of Jesus), not the Mosaic law that was nailed to the cross. I have another influence of carnality, of sin, in me] For what I am doing, I do not understand. [I do not understand why the urge to sin becomes so strong because my desire to serve God is so strong] For what I will to do, that do I not practice; but what I hate, that I do. [I desire and want to love and serve God but find myself drawn to desires that I hate] If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. [I am watching myself do what I know is wrong and it is not what I want and in my flesh I am calling sin good with my flesh, while my mind screams that it is wrong.] But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. [But now I declare that what my actions are calling good is sin that dwells in me] I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. [So I see that I, a person that does not want to sin, sins, because there is something else that I allow to rule. That pull to sin is ever present with me.] For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. [There is a difference in the inner spiritual man and the outer man, the flesh, the sarx. My inward man delights in the law of God that Christians are to love and practice.] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [I find there is an active principle of sin that loves to raise its ugly head in me. I cannot remove it from my flesh. It finds me and then seems to capture me as if it is at war with my own spiritual reason]. O wretched man that I am! [I am sickened because of my own behavior, my own desire to sin. I am sickened that I have to admit that my actions call sin good from time to time. I am sickened because I love God and want to please Him.] Who will deliver me from this body of death? [rhetorical question: Who has promised to deliver His children from this body of flesh that if one listens will result in death?] I thank God - through Jesus Christ our LORD! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. [With my inner spiritual man I serve the Lord and walk with Him but if I am not careful I will be serving my flesh instead of God.] There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. [For those who are saved and walk after the Spirit of Christ there is therefore no condemnation] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. [The law of the Spirit has made it possible to be free from the law of sin and death because I am not condemned for the sin I fall into from time to time] For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." [Jesus covered that sin with His own blood on the cross. He satisfied the law with the Spirit in us, though from time to time I fall into sin. What matters is that I walk in the Spirit. I do not walk after the flesh and I am redeemed by Him. He has made it possible to refuse sin when my mind is stayed on Him.] (Romans 7:14 - 8:5)

"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

The born again believer is able to reckon himself dead to sin, as if he was crucified with Christ. He has the ability in Christ to resist the temptation by being "dead" to it. But the person that does not know Christ in that born again relationship is of his father the devil and lusts of his father he will do. He can't help himself. He will fall over and over, or he will replace one lust for another but he will be in constant subjection to his flesh. Thank God that He has given us victory over sin and death! All we have to do is fix our eyes on Jesus and we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

"I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

Do you feel that way? Do you feel like the harder you try to live a pure life the more you fail? Have you even given up trying because you feel it is impossible? If you have felt this way and then sensed the path you are on is wrong, you may have felt trapped and at the mercy of your flesh. You don't have to feel that way. You can have freedom to live a life that you know pleases God with a clean conscience before Him. You can feel fellowship with a holy God like you never thought possible. All you have to do is come before God and tell Him how you feel and that you know you are trapped by your flesh. Tell Him that you are led around by desires that you cannot control. Ask Him to free you because you know that you are enslaved by sin. Pray this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that is why I feel so trapped by desires that try to run and ruin my life. I feel imprisoned and ask You to free me. Please come into my heart and forgive my sin that threatens to destroy me. I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead. I believe that you are the God of the universe and want to save me. I cry out to You now. I empty myself before You, trusting You with all my heart to save me. Thank You for hearing me. I love You LORD. Amen.

Others in this series of independent articles:

Life's Little Temptations (Part 2. Lust of The Eyes)

Life's Little Temptations (Part 3. Pride Of Life)


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    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      4 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I totally agree Waterstar. Anyone that is looking at society can see that it is becoming more and more corrupt. There were others empires and peoples that experienced a fall in power and influence, we are beginning to mirror those kingdoms. Greece, Rome both fell as each of them became so mired in sins of the flesh. Greed for power, and lust for money was on their mind at all times. We all need to accept Jesus and as King and only Lord. Very well said Waterstar. Thank you for reading. Bob Smith.

    • profile image


      4 years ago


    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      7 years ago from Rochester, New York

      It's always a pleasure to talk to another of Da King's Kids. I know the very real danger of the lust of the flesh. This article is a testimony of my own struggles with my own life's walk. May the power of the Lord give strength to you and all who walk with Him. Many Blessings Bob.

    • DaKingsKid profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank You....

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      You are so right sister DeBby. Anyone that knows me knows that I am fallible. I fall at every turn and yet I am so much stronger than I was because of God and His grace. I know my weak areas and steer clear of them. I cling to my Lord and when I do stray, it is but a moment until the Lord shakes me out of it and I am running to Him once again. Walking in the Spirit is easier than it was but will never be a cakewalk until we get to glory and we have no flesh that clings to us at every turn. Love ya DeB.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Tamarajo I think you are so right. The flesh remains ugly and if not for the way out that God has purchased for us we would have no choice but to serve the flesh at every turn. Praise God that He has given us the way to run from temptation and a haven of rest from sin, if we submit to Him moment by moment and confess that which we have done and repent. God is faithful. Many blessings. Bob.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Nobody, Wonderful! “"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:12-13) Amen!

      This is why the spiritual armor of the Lord is so very important! We must continually gear up for spiritual battle and be ready to resist any sin that knocks, or when in err readily repent… Sin separates us from God! It is important to know that God NEVER tempts us! But HE does provide a way for us to escape temptation!

      Each day is an opportunity to grow stronger spiritually… It is important that we spend time with the Lord daily and meditate on His Word and then apply His principles… "Resist the devil and he will flee..." God truly is FAITHFUL!

      There is PEACE knowing God’s knows our hearts! In Him is where our “security & significance” resides… It is wonderful being at Peace with the Lord! He is always a prayer away! Thank GOD for the FREEDOM we have through JESUS CHRIST!

      "I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)” Amen!

      Thank you for sharing, In His Love, Peace & Blessings!

    • Tamarajo profile image


      8 years ago

      It is a great reminder that we live in a body of flesh and that being a Christian doesn't make one immune to the temptations of that flesh. Being a Christian doesn't make the flesh any prettier than it was before we knew Him. So grateful for His mercy and loving encouragement. Thank you for the insightful hub.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thanks hon, you are special too. I need to read more hubs. Maybe I'll run over to yours and comment. I kinda miss commenting on yours. I have to guard myself or I will be sinning. A mentor of mine said the same is true of himself. He said that if he is not ministering he is sinning. I agree that it is that easy so I gather myself into the arms of God and am accountable to people that I can trust. I appreciate your love in the family of Christ. Loveya Bob.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Brother Bob, You are a very special no body. Temptations are everywhere and we must guard our hearts in Christ Jesus - beginning with our thoughts - taking every thought captive to Christ. many blessings


    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      The only goodness in me comes from above, Lottie. I know my own frailties and how easily I slip into sin. I have to surround myself with people and things to make it more "inconvenient" to sin. I also don't stay in it. I used to wallow in sin and feel sorry for myself. I used to get into a useless mind groove for days or even weeks. It is not like that now but only for the grace of God or it would. I am amazed, frankly, God can use me but I see He does. What an amazing God. LOVE you too, Lottie.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 

      8 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      I love your prayer and your comment to Dave as well! God know your heart and that's all that matters! Your Good! I love you no body, your a blessing!!! I LOVE THIS HUB!!!!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Dave, I too am always aware of the sin that so easily besets me. I have people that I can call to be accountable to. I have my loving wife that I can have pray with me. I am growing and it always is getting better but I am aware that the enemy is always at the door and always looking for a way to get at me. That's the way roaring lions are. Love you Dave. Bob.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      You're very welcome Lifegate. It is one of the hardest things to describe: how we love the Lord and still want to sin. We hate ourselves when we do it yet still find ourselves doing it. I'm not sure there is an easy way to understand this so we give it to God and never stay in any sin but always confess and forsake. Love ya. Bob.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you Fred. Not sure if it was perfect but if it ministered to you it was used. I was concerned that the words I used conveyed the wrong idea of what Paul thought about sin. He loathed it in himself. He on no level thought it was good. But these words are what the Lord gave me. I may still tweak it a little. Love ya brother.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I'm ever so thankful for the "MUTE" Button on my remote come commercial time.

      I thank God, my spirit can never be confined to any particular space in time.

      The Spirit is always willing to do God's Will, but the flesh is often weak to cope.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      The struggles are always there, but to quote you (actually, to quote the Bible), "I thank God - through Jesus Christ our LORD! There is therefore, now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." What wonderful statements, NB. Thanks for sharing.

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 

      8 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      Awesome! This is one of the most powerful chapters in scripture. It captures the human condition and offers a way out. Your breakdown was perfect. I am so glad I had opportunity to read this!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      The fact that God is lodging in this body and declares it righteous is a mystery too marvelous to imagine. Then that He partakes of the everyday and mundane things such as "supping" with us, is amazing. Then to present to us each moment the opportunity to not sin, the ability to choose God, the ability to fellowship that closely is almost too much to take in. But it is so. Love you JD.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      8 years ago from Roseville, CA

      God is so loving; His Word guides us and comforts us as we (our spirits) are housed in this flesh of dust here in this world. He is so gracious and forgiving in that He died for us so He could MOVE IN to help us overcome the flesh that seeks to destroy us. When we shed this body of death, we shall be given a body of everlasting life!! He will dwell in us and we in Him...without SIN!! Blessed assurance!!! Hallelujah!


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