What is this desire of the flesh? We read in the dictionary that it is the GREAT DESIRE FOR MATERIAL PLEASURES AND POSSESSIONS, SEXUAL APPETITE. Let us read what the Bible says about the desire of the flesh.
1. The desire of the flesh is a vice peculiar to the flesh, which opposes the work of the Spirit in the life of the Christian. The apostle Paul exhorts us with the following words: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal.5:16-17).
2. The root of the corruption found in this world is the desire of the flesh. Let us hear Peter: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Pet.1:4).
3. The desire of the flesh is a vile thing, and it could not have been place in men by God. “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, EVIL DESIRE, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Col.3:5).
4. The desire of the flesh laughs at the very God. “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” (2 Pet.3:3-4). The apostles foresaw that in the last days there would be scoffers that would walk according to their wicked desires. “These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 17-19).
5. The desire of the flesh is a satanic carnal captivity, and men do not have in themselves the means to be freed from it. Jesus Christ is the only one able to deliver men from this power that corrupts. Paul declared: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another” (Titus 3:3). “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses” (2 Tim.3:6).
6. The desires of the flesh cause sin to rule over us. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts” (Rom.6:11-13).
7. The desires of the flesh are killers of the soul. Peter affirms this truth: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage was against the soul” (1 Pet.2:11). When the people of Israel murmured against Jehovah because of the lack of food during their wandering in the desert, their god sent them manna and also quails. The people satisfied their hunger, but the text says that, while the meat was in their mouths, before it was chewed, the anger of Jehovah was kindled and he struck them with a horrible plague. The name of the place was Kibroth-hattaavah, which translated means SEPULCHER OF THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH (Num.11:1-7; 31-35). “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). The desires of the flesh transform people into walking sepulchers, because whoever has these desires is condemned to death. If God is love, if God is righteous, if God does not wish the death of man, he could not have created him with this murderous desire. This desire of the flesh comes from Jehovah, who, rebellious, altered the order of God the Father, and formed Adam from this rebellion, therefore, according to its image. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, creates the new man, without the desires of the flesh and in his holy image (Eph.4:22-24; Col.3:9-10).
8. The filthy things of the flesh are connected to the desires of the flesh. “Then Jehovah knows how to … keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of Judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires” (2 Pet.2:9-10).
9. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is against the desires of the flesh. “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries” (1 Pet.4:2-3). Since the Father is set against the fleshly desires, he is not the one who gives the evil men over to the filthiness of the evil desires. The god who does it is Jehovah, the god of the world. “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them” (Rom.1:24). The Father wants that all man be saved; therefore he does not give men over to evil (1 Tim.2:3-4). In the Psalm 81. Jehovah affirms that he hands men over to the desires of the flesh (Ps.81:12).
10. If God the Father is against the desires of the flesh, how did them show up in men? The desire of the flesh is the fruit of the flesh, and Job reveals that Jehovah dressed men with flesh: “CLOTHE ME WITH SKIN AND FLESH, AND KNIT ME TOGETHER WITH BONES AND SINEWS?” (Job 10:11). Paul reveals that the flesh and the blood are corruption, and that corruption does not inherit the kingdom of God the Father (1 Cor.15:50). And Jehovah declares that he is the god of all flesh in Jer.32:27.
The apostle John recommends the following to the Church: “Do not love the world, nor 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 and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world, and the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). These three things are present in the fall of Adam and Eve. The devil has only stirred up, through temptation, the evil that was already present in men. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food (DESIRE OF THE FLESH), and that it was a delight to the eyes (DESIRE OF THE EYES), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise (PRIDE OF LIFE), she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen.3:6). The desire of the flesh has not sprung into existence through the disobedience, but it caused the disobedience, because Adam and Eve were formed with fleshly desires that were mortal and corruptive. The law that Jehovah gave to Adam (Gen.2:16-17) stirred up the desires of the flesh.“What shall we say then? Is than Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have come to know about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind” (Rom.7:7-8). Now, Jehovah gave Adam a law, saying, “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” (Gen.2:17). As Adam and Eve already had fleshly desires, the commandment awoke in them the desire, and the serpent had only to feed the fire. Jehovah wished the death of Adam and Eve, but the Father wants all to be saved, that is why Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
The aggravating factor is that Jehovah clothed Adam with a flesh full of fleshly desires. Jesus strips this filthy garment. “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph.4:22-24). Jehovah formed one man with carnal and corrupt desires, and the Father, through Christ, strips men from this evil to be created again without the flesh and the fleshly desires for filth. Jehovah created man to sin, to be corrupted, and to die; Jesus buys this man, takes off the mortal clothes, and creates his own image and likeness in him (Col.3:9-10). What does person have to do to get out of Jehovah’s hands and into Christ’s hands?
1°) We have to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:15-16).
2°) We have to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit who destroys the desire of the flesh.
3°) The Holy Spirit leads us to the cross with Christ, where we will be delivered. “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal.5:24).
The difference between the creature of Jehovah and that of the Father is that the one that the Father has created is created with no desire of the flesh, to be like Christ (Eph.4:13).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira