Yesterday we sought to identify the source of our conflict with others. We identified that our own lusts entice us to sin (James 1:14-15). In chapter four, James makes plain the fact that our desires that are the cause of conflict. We want something so badly that we are willing to sin in order to get it.
In seeking to answer the X-Ray questions, “What do you love? Hate?” and “What do you want, desire, crave, lust, and wish for? What desires do you serve and obey?” hopefully you were able to pinpoint certain lusts that drive you toward sin. It was (and is) a valuable exercise for me to examine my heart in such a way so as to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me. And lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Now that we’ve identified what lust is and what we specifically lust after, what do we do with it?
I believe we should turn to Scripture to answer that question. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” No method I share with you will be adequate. You must first look to the Word of God and see what it says. The application will look different from one woman to the next. So let’s examine what the Word says about what to do with lust.
We saw in 1 John 2:15-17 that these lusts are not from God and that they pass away. Later in James chapter four, he calls the people to whom he is writing “adulteresses” asking, “…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Therefore, it is clear that we cannot continue to lust and please God. In fact, in 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul issues the command to flee from lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
So in a nutshell, there’s our answer! In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, he defines the word “flee” as “To run with rapidity, as from danger; to attempt to escape; to hasten from danger or expected evil.” So we should be running as fast as we can away from lust. But should we run aimlessly or with purpose? And to what do we run?
Here are few practical tips of what to pursue when fleeing lust, straight from the Bible:
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with perseverance, and petition for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
2. Walk in the Spirit.
“But I say, walk in the Spirit, and your will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
“…do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:4
3. Hide God’s Word in your heart.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“Let the Word of Christ richly swell within you…” Colossians 3:16a
4. Practice righteousness.
“…but present yourselves to God, as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Romans 6:13b
5. Take your thoughts captive to Christ and fill your mind with truth.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:5
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth…” Ephesians 6:14
“Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
6. Hope in Christ.
“…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
“…and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, an though you do not see Him, you believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9
Sister in Christ, will you join me in pursuing righteousness by putting to death our fleshly lusts? Think of how this will bless our husband, children, and other relationships! Think of how many conflicts we can avoid!