Evil Desires & Selfishness
James 1:13-15 "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me."
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but
each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged
away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives
birth to sin: and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth
The Apostle Paul wrote, "I do the things I don't want to do, and don't do the things I should do." That is the reality we live in as imperfect beings, living in an imperfect world. However, the Word says that we are tempted by our own evil desires. Which means we have a say in it: a choice to make. The Word calls this "life by the spirit" or "life by the flesh". So many fall away on account of temptation that gave birth to sin; which is acting upon a person’s evil desire. Notice that is doesn’t say the person is evil, but the desire itself is evil. When sin resides in one’s life long enough it creates death. And so we see broken families, high divorce rates, abortion, and even fellow believers fall away. I cannot possibly tap into all that could be said concerning this matter. As the entire Word of God talks about the consequences of sin. Instead, my heart is to speak to you, the believer instead. Because God has promised us a life of power and authority. He has promised us the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth! He said that some take it by force even. Implying their desperation for the things of God. His kingdom come, His will be done. Here on earth as it is in Heaven. We have to understand the weight of the decisions we make in our daily lives when we are tempted by our own evil desires. When we choose to live according to our selfish ways, and depart from God's way. The Lord says no man has been tempted accept what is common to man, and the Lord will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. In other words, no temptation or evil desire is too strong that you are unable to refuse it.
I previously wrote concerning faith and knowing God. Faith in a nutshell is simply trusting God. But in order to trust anyone, you have to know that they can be trusted. God is no different. Some may find that easier to do than others, but it is simply our human nature in either case. Wherever we are in that journey, we have to recognize that knowing God comes with the obligation of accepting who He is. Just like we would if we were getting to know anyone personally. Herein lies the problem, we often want God to conform to our nature as imperfect man. Instead of us conforming to the will and desire of perfect God. To make matters worse, there is an enemy that hates us, and seeks to destroy our lives. And he looks for every opportunity to use our weaknesses against us. So when we fall and sin, he is there to rub guilt and condemnation in our face. To lie and tell us that we are no longer worthy to have a close bond with God. The Word says to take every thought captive, and to test all things! That even the elect will be deceived. The answer is stated simply in Galatians 5:16-26. If we live by the Spirit, we will not gratify the sinful desires that live in us. I said it is stated simply, because walking it out is another story entirely.
I'm embarrassed to say that I may have been the most selfish person I know. For many years I lived like a disease ridden person that grew more sick by the day. My life was slowly heading further and further away from the principles of God. Then one day I started seeing the symptoms of the "death" that my sin was causing in my life. All the while completely jaded to the root and core of my problems: selfishness! Unfortunately for me, it took hitting rock bottom to turn my eyes unwaveringly to God. I cried out in desperation as death crept in to take the final blow. But God! The wonderful love and power of God! The arms that rescue, restore, and give everlasting life! When I cried out to God, He showed me my selfish ways. But more so, He delivered me from the enemy and the grip that death was about to have on my life. But I had to make that choice. And that is the major point I want to make in all of this. We have to come to a place as followers of Christ, where we align ourselves to Him. To who He is. We have to stop making excuses for ourselves and quit trying to change the character of God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We have gotten into this "God is only grace" mentality. While He is love and grace, He is also holy, righteous, and just. Don’t misunderstand, we all need God’s grace. And grace is such an important characteristic of God empowering us. Yet it baffles me that children of God are sowing the seed of their "evil desires and selfishness", and expecting to reap a life free of consequence. Then they end up wondering how they got there, and frustrated with God as if He were responsible for their choices. But sin is sin and we are forgiven! There is no greater consequence right? Wrong! Again, the Word says "my people perish for lack of knowledge". And in Proverbs "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death". God does not reward disobedience, and He does not align himself with us while we live in sin. Christ dying on the cross for our sins gave us the right to approach God and have eternal life. It did not give us the right to sin and live in direct disobedience to who God is. Jonah is most notable for trying to run from God in disobedience. What happened to him? A storm stirred up in his life, that ultimately got him back on track and in line with God's will.
"Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality,
impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy,
fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness,
orgies and the like."
We have to be mature in the knowledge of God to understand the weight of our decisions. Not in just natural terms, but how it weighs on our relationship with God. And the consequences therein. That might be the hardest pill to swallow yet. While God is always here to rescue us in an instance through repentance. The enemy would distort our weakened and sinful mind to believe otherwise. It breaks my heart to see those who once lived and loved God so passionately, fall and give up. And to hear them say the craziest things. God didn't care anymore. Or God must have wanted them to live in misery. Or God let this or that happened, and if He really loved me it wouldn't have. People are being drug away in lies and confusion! They say "I don't know what I believe anymore". Or "this has forced me to question all I know". God is not a God of confusion! The devil is our enemy! He will do whatever he can to distort the image of God. This is how you can spot deception in your life: the thought, feeling, emotion, or desire does not align itself to the character and Word of God. Or what about when we say "it feels like my prayers are just hitting the ceiling - God doesn't hear me". He always hears us. But the Bible also says our prayers can be hindered (delayed). Unforgiveness, selfish ambition, turning away from God's Word (who He is) are just a few examples of how we can disconnect from Him. In Proverbs it says there are six things the Lord hates and seven things that are detestable to Him!
Proverbs 6:16-19 "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that
are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that
shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who
pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension
The bottom line is that we will never be all that God calls us to be until we align ourselves with who He is. If we allow our evil desires and selfishness to rule our lives, we will fall into the plan and will of our enemy. Which is death and separation from God. My fellow readers, please understand this: I have reaped the consequences of sowing sin that led to death in my life. At one point I even cursed God. My life was falling apart and where was God? Where was His love and help? I was drowning in my selfish and sinful life. But I wanted God to bail me out without so much as a scratch! The Word says the Lord disciplines the children He loves. And I thank God for it now. Once God changed me, and I made the choice to align myself with Him again. My life radically changed. I walked back in to the peace that surpasses all understanding. I walked back into blessing after blessing. I look back and wonder how I ever got to being that fallen man. I want to finish with a few last thoughts; by far the most important. In John's Gospel, chapter fourteen; Jesus says multiple times - John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command". Verse 21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me." Verse 23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching."
Do you love God? Align yourself with Him. My prayer for you is that you will be desperate for Him! And in your desperation for Him, ask the Lord to break your heart with the things that break His. That you will hate the things that He hates. That you will detest the things that are detestable to Him. We have got to stop making excuses about why our lives are so messed up, when we choose to do the things that are against the very character of God. God is not confusing! If you love Him, obey His commands. I'm not saying that it won't be hard. In fact it might be the hardest thing you ever do. Because it goes against the sinful nature in you. And the enemy is relentlessly trying to lie and deceive you. Ask God to show you your selfish ways. Ask Him to show you and convict your heart to the things you are doing in disobedience to Him. And when the conviction comes, don't harden your heart! Nearly every person in the Bible that lived with a hardened heart towards God saw their world come crashing down. Some to the point of literal death. As God tried and tried to establish His way in them, and they refused. This is why this is so important. If we run away from the Bible's hard truths, we will never lay hold of the fullness of God. I challenge you, get on your knees and ask God to have His way in you. And hold nothing back from Him. Then simply obey His commands. Live a life full of the Spirit. Be desperate for Him!
Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who
belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with
its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us
keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited,
provoking and envying each other.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who