Every temptation is designed to feed our self-gratification. Otherwise it would not be a temptation. I have never drank alcohol. If offered a drink, it would have no pull on me. However, if someone had been set free of drinking, it would pull them like a magnet. It depends on what we have been set free from. It also depends on what is hidden in our hearts.
My grandfather was a fly fisherman. He crafted each of his lures. The enemy of our soul is searching for ways to reel us in. He ‘crafts’ lures that will get us to take his bait. His goal is to take us out of service to the Lord. He hates authentic followers of Christ because they represent the One he cannot control.
Yesterday I brought up bitterness. Bitterness starts as a seed that is dropped into the soil of our heart. When our heart is full of God’s word, the soil is rich in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:23-24 says, “…Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
When the soil in our heart is barren (the way of the transgressor is hard), full of stones (offenses), and thorns (irritations, nettling thoughts), the fruit of the Spirit has nothing to grow in. I love the picture in Psalm 65. Verse 4 says, “Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.”
Here is an illustration of a satisfied heart. Verses 9-11 say, “You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, for so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”
Anything we do in our own strength pleases our flesh. Romans 8:7-8 says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Walking in the Spirit pleases the Lord. The fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives when we are submitted to the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Here is our mandate. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Lust: greed, self-gratification, unholy desires, and unbridled passions. When we put off every temptation by putting on Christ, we will erase and wipe out any pre-plans to gratify our flesh. Abundant fruit glorifies the Lord.