The drifting of society from a moral code to relativism has plunged society into a land of no restraint. The atmosphere reeks with darkness all around. The author, Flannery O’Connor, wrote to an anonymous friend, “You breathe in nihilism. In or out of the church, it is the gas you breathe.” Nihilism is the rejection of all religious and moral principles, and the belief that life has no purpose. Fleshly lusts abound in this atmosphere of nihilism. The Apostle Peter wrote to his audience of believers who had been redeemed from the spirit of this world; “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” I Peter 2:11
The land we live in is full of souls with no self-control. Self-control is no longer in vogue. Self indulgence has run rampant in the hearts of men. Consequently, fleshly lusts have manifested in an abundance of mental and emotional crises. Paul writes to the church at Rome; “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Romans 7:18. Paul himself experienced fleshly lust warring against his soul. The commandment; “’You shall not covet’ produced in me all manner of evil desire.” Romans 7:7-8.
The souls who have neglected to resist the negative actions, thoughts, and moods are in for a spiraling of abnormal and aberrant behaviors. The unregenerate souls have no spiritual ability to resist fleshly lusts. In fact, they are wired to self indulgence which will consequently end in what the scriptures refer to as works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like of which I tell you beforehand, just as also I told you in times past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-20. Anyone who has the role of counseling will be addressing those who have indulged fleshly lusts and have accumulated the list of the works of the flesh. The conditions listed above are not diseases. They are things that are practiced. Consider the relationships, families, careers, employment, etc. that have suffered because of living in the atmosphere of darkness. There are degrees of the depravity by which the souls are affected. Remarkably, some can live in the vilest of ways and still function. Others have not fared as well. The sowing of evil will be the reaping of evil. The sowing of lust will take the soul captive to the bondage to fleshly lusts. “In the last times there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts, these are sensual persons —not having the Spirit.” Jude 18-19
Consider in the work by Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry and his close friend Dorian Gray are both living by the pleasure principle. They are seeking for external pleasures. Lord Henry asks Dorian whether he is happy or not. While smoking a cigarette, Lord Henry says; “A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” Dorian Gray is living by the motto of Lord Henry which is that nothing can cure the soul but senses. How true this is for those seeking pleasures that will never satisfy the soul. Fleshly lusts can only end up in emptiness. “My people — have gone far from Me, have followed emptiness, and have become empty.” Jeremiah 2:5.
The sad thing is that many who know Christ are living in such a way that they are producing the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. They have gone the way of Demas. Paul writes of Demas; “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” On the other hand, note the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” Galatians 5:22-23. Can we not imagine what families would be like if the head of the family was instituting the fruit of the Spirit in the family? How is he to do this? He is to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another; so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16-17.
If you are having mental and emotional crises, is it possibly because you are out of the will of God by indulging in fleshly lusts? Start by confessing the big three sins in I John 2:16. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Add presumptuous sins, idle words, and unholy thoughts and behaviors. Get in the battle against fleshly lusts. Peter tells us fleshly lusts war against the soul. Start fighting the good fight. Get back in the church. Surrender to God anew. Be Faithful. Love one another. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (daily) Ephesians 6:11 Pray the Lord’s prayer daily. Ask forgiveness for those you have sinned against. Be a blessing. Pursue edification. “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Romans 14:19. Subsequently, it will be well with your soul.
Where the grace blows,