Resisting Fleshly Appetites


Our desires are given to us by God, but they can become dangerous if we become slaves to them.

Ephesians 2:1-7

The Holy Spirit guides believers to make wise and godly decisions. But when Christians fail to listen, they can instead make choices that appeal to the flesh.

After the serpent spoke to Eve, she no doubt took a long look at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17; Gen. 3:3, Gen. 3:6). Whatever she might have thought about the tree before, she now saw it with new eyes— flesh-focused eyes. Genesis 3 tells us that the forbidden tree appealed to Eve in three ways: It was good for food, delightful to look at, and desirable to make one wise.

In other words, the tree could fulfill three legitimate human appetites: the desire for tasty meals, beauty, and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with these God-given yearnings. The Lord created a variety of food and an earth filled with breathtaking sights so that people could enjoy them. He also offers the Holy Spirit as a source of His true wisdom and knowledge. In fact, it is the Spirit who teaches believers to keep fleshly appetites under control and in balance.

Meanwhile, Satan works hard to corrupt healthy desires. He abhors seeing people’s appetites satisfied. What he wants is to watch a person lusting after a good thing until he or she is controlled by the impulse to have it.

The devil is pleased when people make themselves slaves to a desire that—in the proper context—the Lord intended to be enjoyed freely. A believer walking in the Holy Spirit rejects gluttony, preferring desires that are within God’s boundaries instead. That’s how we get His very best.

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