Galatians 5:16-17,25 – So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 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. (NIV)
We are constantly bombarded with images that are contrived to tempt us to think the unthinkable, and they are all around us day and night. It is inescapable. Do not be overcome; it is a part of being a physical being in the physical world.
Lust does not finish at sexual desire. It can be for anything at all, whatever causes us to reach out, grab, and close the fist around it (excluding the Kingdom): money, addiction, power, possessions, success, vengeance, violence, etc.
In Northern Africa, to catch a monkey, they put salt in a hole in a tree trunk. As the monkey grabs the salt, it closes its fist because it wants it. This makes its clenched hand too big to be removed through the hole, so it is caught and eaten.
One thing that I know is true: as we continue to hold on to non-Kingdom desires, we will be consumed, because it will give the Devil a foothold.
However we do have a choice: by prayer and an act of the will, we can let go of whatever preoccupies us outside the Kingdom of God. All we need to do is to lay it down totally, to give it into the hands of Jesus in prayer, now, today. Sometimes this requires the intercession of others.
Jesus dusts us down, checks us over, hugs us, and then sends us out again with a warning: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! We visualize this act: we lay the crown of our desires at the feet of Jesus. To do this is to know true freedom and real joy.
Psalm 103:1-5 – Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, we rejoice that you died to set us free. As we come to you today, we lay our lives down before you once more, knowing that this is the only one sure place for them to be set free. Lord, show us today what it means to seek first the Kingdom so that we might walk in it. We rejoice that you are the One who can set us free. Walk with us as we go into the world today. Amen.