Apostle Peter tells us the reason God freed us from our indwelling sinful nature when we were born again in I Peter 4:2:
“….so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God.”
A translation that gives a fuller wording of the original Greek scripture says:
“…with a view to his not living the rest of his time while in his physical body in the sphere of the cravings of men, but in the sphere of the will of God.”
In other words, from the point we are born again until we leave this earth, God wants us to live in His will (obey Him) and not be conformed to our former lusts which were ours when we did not know Him. So for us to be able to do this, He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He also sent His Holy Spirit to us which imparts a divine nature in us and gives us the desire and power to be free from the indwelling sin nature which is still in us.
Today when we use the word “lust” we think of “immoral sexual desire” but in the original Greek letters of the NT, the word “lust” meant “any strong craving” or “passionate desire”. It did not necessarily mean something evil but the content in which it was used determined whether it was evil or good. In our scripture today it is used in a sinful sense.
As we know, these sinful, strong cravings and passionate desires can encompass a multitude of things in our life. For example, James warns us if we have bitter jealously and selfish ambition (strife) in our heart, this wisdom is not from God but is earthly (vs heavenly), natural (vs spiritual), and demonic (James 3:14-18). In chapter 4, he speaks of lust, murder (can be just hate in our heart), being envious, fighting, quarreling, prayers from a wrong motive, and being a friend of the world (i.e. an enemy of God). Remember, our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we need the Lord to shine His light into the dark areas of our hearts to reveal what is there. We have walked in some of these strong cravings or passionate desires so long we do not even recognize them for what they are, not pleasing to God.
Paul told Timothy, concerning becoming more Christ like, “Pay close attention to yourself…” (I Timothy 4:16). Let us do the same and turn our hearts to forsake any of these strong cravings or passionate desires that cause us to disobey God and practice sin. Agree with God and exercise your free will to say no to these desires and Jesus Christ will bring victory over these passionate desires in your life. God has enough grace to deal with anything He reveals in your heart.
“Pay close attention to yourself….”