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The Temptations of the Flesh /the-temptations-of-the-flesh/
Micah Hackett
While we can learn to avoid the Devil and the world, our flesh will remain with us till the day we die. Our old nature
and temptation to sin is still with us, and it is deadly. Galatians 5:17 says: For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and
the Spirit against the flesh; and these are opposed to one another; so you are not able to do as you desire. Our
flesh is what both the world and the Devil use to destroy fruitfulness, which is why this can be considered our most
dangerous enemy. We must guard our spirit, and what better to do that by than the Spirits Sword? Here is what the
Scriptures say regarding the flesh:
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the
flesh is weak. Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is
present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
1Jn 2:15,16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love 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 pride
of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
2Co 10:3,4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our
warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
How, then do we fight against the flesh? Through God. And so, we will seek to examine His words regarding the
temptations of the flesh and how to live spiritually. Specifically, we will look at Galatians 5:16-26 (Please take time to
read it).
Galatians 5:16-26 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do
the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are
manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the
which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness,
temperance: against such there is no law. (And they that are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and
lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another,
envying one another.
Our Temptation: Uncleanness
The first form of temptation in our list is uncleanness, that is, sexual immorality of any kind. It is becoming
increasingly difficult to remain sexually pure in thought, word, and deed because we have become increasingly
desensitized to this type of sin. It starts simply: first, our consciences are numbed by TV ads, billboards, movies,
music, magazines, everyday dress, the beach, etc. The temptation grows, our consciences are seared somewhat
more, and suddenly, suggestive words and thoughts arent so bad anymore. Pornography, like a drug, becomes
more addicting; homosexuality becomes more acceptable; and divorce doesnt seem problematic. Lust grows and
becomes normal, and physical fornication is needed to satisfy Where does this all begin? It begins with a look and
a desensitized mind. We must never make provision for the flesh: it can only lead to ruin.
Our Temptation: Idolatry
Worse than physical adultery is spiritual adultery idolatry. Its quite natural to exalt self; its quite natural to replace


daily communion for friends; its quite natural to give place to the devil and things rooted in witchcraft. Subtle forms
they may be, but they are all idolatry; they are all sin. God must never be on the secondary level, not at any time. Let
us never allow our pastimes to become passions when they are rooted in the desires of the flesh. Whatever it may
be the phone, the TV, the game system, the music while they are not godless in themselves (unless they are
used in defiling ways), they can become the promotion of sin in the worst degree if they entice us to neglect the very
One who gave His own blood for us.
A word about witchcraft. In society today, the believer must be tremendously careful. Album covers, websites, books,
videos, music, and especially more open forms such as ouija boards or seances they can/do have a very deep
connection with witchcraft, of which the devil is the head. The occult is an extremely dangerous and scary place. We
must resist.
And so, we must ask this vital question: Is God unquestionably first in my life? May we honestly answer and resolve
to yield our time and devotion fully to Him.
Our Temptation: Strife
Strife, as a work of the flesh, is that tendency toward contention, jealousy, and such when things dont go our way.
This could be characterized by gossip, subtle sowing of discord, or outright and visible anger to those who oppose
certain beliefs. We see this in the home, the local assembly, or amongst believers in general. Scripture says
contention comes only by pride (Prov. 13:10). This is, then, actually an issue of pride. If we find ourselves in conflict,
in whatever sphere of life, it is time to critically rethink our level of humility before God; and we must strive, not with
others, but with our flesh, to diminish whatever form of pride we may face. James says Humble yourselves in the
sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. (4:10)
Our Temptation: Divisions/Heresies
The word heresies is the same Greek word used for sect, for example, the Pharisees and Sadducees. When it
comes to divisions, heresies, and sects, its easy to veer to the less orthodox teaching of Scripture. Many would label
doctrine an unimportant; and when some disagree with the doctrines of other believers, they divide. This is why
many cults and false so-called denominations teach heresies regarding Christ, origins, Scripture, salvation, etc.
We must cleave to Scripture! When Scripture teaches it, let us believe it, defend it, and live it. While it may be
tempting to compromise with the worlds teaching and the easier interpretation of Scripture, we must defend
Scriptural doctrine. (And if there is a difficult passage regarding doctrine, simply compare Scriptures). Let there be
no more departing from the simple teaching of Scripture; let us cleave to the Word.
Our Temptation: Drunkenness
The final general description of the flesh is drunkenness and its results, such as murders and riots. The meaning of
the word in Galatians 5 is intoxication, generally referring to wine and such. This is undoubtedly a difficult subject.
Nevertheless, it is an essential one. We will try to look at it from a Scriptural standpoint.
Its easy to have a lax attitude towards alcoholic drinks; after all, that is the worlds attitude. However, it is certainly
not Gods. The behaviour of the believer is not dependent on the worlds doctrine or what is convenient, but is
dependent on what is separate from the world and coinciding with Gods Word. Social drinking, participation in
riots/protests, riotous behaviour, etc. these are obviously not spiritual tendencies. These actions are associated
with a wasted life (Luke 15:13, Luke 12:19, 1 Cor 15:32), but we have eternal life. Let us not have an attitude
insensitive to these matters, let us not make provision for the flesh, and let us live soberly in Godliness.
Here are some helpful questions to ask regarding alcoholic drinks: Is this the image of the believer or of the typical
representative of the world? What kind of image am I portraying to others my family, my co-workers, my fellow
believers, my Lord? Is this something that I could do without? What does Scripture say regarding this?


The Fruit of the Spirit

Weve seen somewhat of general temptations of the flesh, and so now we must know the Biblical method to
overcome these temptations.
Our Aim: Those characterized by the list of the works of the flesh are those who do not inherit the Kingdom of God
(not suggesting a works-based salvation, of course). Paul writes these things plainly. He then starts a new list,
beginning with BUT, telling us that there is a clear distinction from our walk and the unbelievers works. Our aim
is this: fruit for God.
Our Approach: 2 Corinthians 10:3,4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) We do not
conquer the flesh through the flesh; we are mighty only through God. Romans 3:13,14 Let us walk honestly, as in
the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on
the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Our approach is entirely
Our Action: Our simple duty is found in Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit. This means following the Spirits
leading, obeying His convictions, and bearing fruit for Him.
Our Achievement: When we have learned to live and walk spiritual lives, what is the point? What do we get out of
this? Again, Galatians 5:16 Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. What an achievement!