Although often translated as “lust”, this word simply means “a strong desire”. The English word “lust” is a specific description of desires that are perceived primarily to be of a sexual nature; however, the Greek word is much broader in its meaning, therefore it is the content that determines what is being desired, whether good or bad.

In the parable of the Sower of the seed, we find that the desires concerning the cares of this world and wealth came up like weeds and choked out the message of the Kingdom of the Heavens (Mark 4:19). In dealing with the Pharisees, Jesus reveals to them they are actually following the desires of their father, Satan (John 8:44). Often desires from Satan are looked at as wicked, but here we see the perceived religious leaders of the time being called out for doing his desires, not God’s. Satan wants to be like God (Isaiah 14:14) and comes as a messenger of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) to ensnare believers (2 Timothy 2:26) while secretly bringing in his sons to introduce false doctrines to manipulate the minds of the believers to follow his desires (Ephesians 2:2; Galatians 2:4). He did it to the Jews in Jesus’ time and still does it today to the Christians. Therefore, we should pay attention to what we are being taught and seek out pastors who speak the truth, not being in assemblies that focus on manipulating our desires through emotional experiences, whether through worship services, events, or gatherings to influence the attendees into feeling good about themselves rather than focusing on the truth.

When it comes to dealing with the desires from the sin nature, we have to apply the truth to our lives (the doctrine by which we have victory over sin) so that we stop letting these desires reign as king in our lives (Romans 6:12). We do not use the Mosaic law to overcome the desires from the sin nature, for our sin nature uses law as an opportunity to rule us again because law gives it strength (Romans 7:8). We live out from faith by grace, where the law is not out from faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:12). In contrast to the desires from our sin nature, the Holy Spirit’s desires make it impossible to fulfill the cravings from the flesh when we are governing our lives by them (Galatians 5:16). Before being obedient to the gospel for salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we walked according to the desires of the flesh (Ephesians 2:3), governing our lives by the immoral yearnings of the nations who follow after a flood of debauchery (1 Peter 4:3) because they reject God (Romans 1:24). Now we are to put off this former conduct of our old man, who grows corrupt by deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22), by living out who we are in Christ. This will separate us from these types of depraved activities because we are seeking to fulfill the desires from the Spirit (Colossians 3:5), and His desires do not mix with those from the flesh. The sin nature resides in the flesh and its desires wage war on the soul, our emotions (1 Peter 2:11); therefore, we are not to make any provisions for the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:14).

Desires impact every aspect of our lives. Every activity in our life first starts with a desire. We sin because we are first tempted by being baited and drawn out by desires. These desires then work out sin if we do not take the way of escape provided by God (James 1:14-15). However, the desires that enter our mind are not sin, for sin is always exterior to the body (1 Corinthians 6:18). Sin is the result of a bad desire when the determination to fulfill the desire is fulfilled (James 1:15). The desires from the flesh are deceitful and corrupt. The desires from Satan seek independence from God. The desires from the world system involve the pride of biological life (where you came from or what color you are) and the desires of the flesh and eyes and are constantly passing away. However, the desirous will of God does not change and those who follow His desires will not be tossed around by every wind of teaching by the trickery of men or the manipulative desires from our sin nature. Therefore, let us pay attention to the desires we have, reject those that do not line up with who we are in Christ, and focus on knowing and doing God’s desirous will in our lives.