You have desires, God-given physical, emotional and spiritual desires. All of those desires can be fulfilled in healthy ways. But as you are fully aware, you can fulfill emotional and physical desires in unhealthy, sinful ways.
James tells us in his letter that temptation in our lives comes from our natural/carnal desires.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Some translations say “evil desires,” and some say “lust.” A more accurate translation might be “carnal” desires or physical desires. Physical desires are not evil, but when you seek to fulfill them in ways others than what God prescribes, it can turn into sin, which leads to death. I’m not really talking about “sex, drugs and rock n roll” type behavior, I’m talking about the inner desires and attitudes that drive behavior.
Let me paraphrase, “you are tempted when you are drawn away by your carnal desires.”
Side note, remember, the temptation and subsequent trial of your faith are to be welcomed as an opportunity to develop patience and wisdom, but DON’T SAY IT’S FROM GOD. James 1 has been used to teach that God sends the trials, but verse 12 on make it clear that the trial is not from God, it’s from how you seek to fulfill a desire.
Nurturing Spiritual DesiresIn the sermon, Read through the first half of Romans 8 and discuss the secret to life or death; it’s the way you think. For the sake of this article, I’ll skip to the practical part.
Our goal is to desire what God desires for us. I’m sure that you agree that sin is terrible and to be avoided at all costs. But what about fear, worry, and doubt? Those are thoughts, emotions, and attitudes that are perversions of spiritual desires as well.
When you have the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of patience, you get in a hurry and make a wrong decision. When you have the opportunity to apply God’s wisdom but worry yourself into a “logical” conclusion, you are nurturing carnal desires. When you have a need and know what God’s word says but still wonder if he does anything about it, you are improperly acting on a desire that could turn your heart toward him.
Every situation in life is an opportunity to have faith and trust God. In the world, we will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have a problem in your life; it just means that he promises to be with you and provide a way out by following his spirit.
Every time you feel yourself nurturing anxiety, fear, doubt, or worry, remember that it’s a God-given desire that you are just using improperly. You can shift your focus and change your inner state by asking God for wisdom. When you feel like you can’t “hear God,” you can always turn to his written word. He saw ahead and made provision for us, in every situation, even global pandemics.