James 1:13-15, 13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed
:and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
What this is saying here is that when we are tempted we are tempted in our own lust. This is where sin is conceived. The question is, “is this lust always a terrible thing?”
Galatians 5:17 says “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”.
This is speaking about our recreated spirit (under the influence of the Holy Spirit) is lusting against the flesh. Does this mean that our spirit is sinning? No, it does not. It is simply saying that our spirit has an overwhelming desire to serve God not wanting what the flesh desires. The flesh would always be enmity against God.
This lust that is spoken of here means an overwhelming desire to dominate
We think that when things happen to us our emotions simply take over to deal or express with feelings the situation we may find ourselves in. But this is not what this scripture is saying. It is saying that our emotions (overwhelming desire to dominate) is what conceives the sin. If I am not emotionally connected to something I would not react to it. Am I right? And when something is conceived eventually it gives birth. A lot of people have a problem with sexual desires because sex is all around us. You turn on the television it’s there whether it is an advertisement showing a woman’s body while she advertises toothpaste or gluttony because fast foods are constantly being showcased on television, not to mention everywhere you turn there is a fast food outlet practically on every corner.
Jesus Himself, if He was not hungry He would not have been tempted by Satan to turn stone into bread, and if he wasn’t ordained to govern the world he would not have been tempted to worship the devil in order to have control of everything. What you desire innocently or otherwise is always the basis for the temptations that you face.
For us to act out simply means that it was already conceived in our emotions. No one can effectively tell me that they just sinned on a whim. You would have gone there in your mind first at some point.
The Word of God warns us about the mind where emotions are kept. The book of Romans 12-2 says,2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Why are we not to conform to this world? Because the main focus in your life will always control your emotions. If my emotions are being controlled by the things of this world then its safe to say that the world has way too much hold on me.
Remember the verses Eph. 4:26-27 (be angry but sin not, do not give the devil any place); we are called upon not to allow our anger to lead us into sin. In essence, we are not to be controlled by the emotion of anger.
When I learn to control my emotions, I control my desires. How do I control my emotions? By being transformed by the renewing of my mind. Let us take this a step at a time. What does it mean to be transformed?
When the Word of God talks about transformation its not speaking about something that is natural or physical. Its speaking about a total change that starts from within. There are two types of change that a person undergoes. One is a major change and the other is a simple change. A major change is a change that is total and irreversible. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This scripture is speaking about our redemptive walk with Christ. It is a daily transformation from our redemption to sanctification to that final change that is going to take place according to 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” This major transformation is a daily progressive change. You are moving from glory to glory.
Simple transformation (change) on the other hand is not total change. It can be reversed. While major transformation works from the inside out, simple transformation (change) works from the outside. It is affected by what goes on around it. To be precise, in our Christian walk, all transformation is change but not all change is transformation.
God doesn’t want simple transformation (change). Being changed from glory to glory is a major change that only God can do. How is this done? By renewing the mind. James 1:21 “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (mind)”.
You cannot be effectively transformed until the mind is renewed. While transformation is something only God can do, renewing of the mind is our responsibility. Why am I saying this?
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This scripture is speaking about the warfare we are in and where it is taking place. Let us break it down further.
The first thing we’re looking at is that we are in a battle and we have weapons to fight in this battle. What is especially interesting is that these weapons are not normal weapons which suggest that the battle that we are in is not a normal one.
These weapons that we have been given to fight with are not just mighty weapons but mighty through God (one translation actually say “God’s mighty weapons”) and they are for a very specific purpose, which is to pull down strongholds. Now here is where it gets interesting. Where are these strongholds? They are located at the heart of the battle which is your mind. Your mind is where every battle you are fighting now or have ever fought is located. Verse 5 gives you an insight to this battle. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Casting down imaginations. Where do you imagine? In your mind. Things that exalt itself against the knowledge of God. Where do you store knowledge? In your mind. Taking into captivity every thought. Where are your thoughts located? In your mind.
What we want to look at is the last part of this verse that says, ‘Taking into captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ Even though at the point of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior your spirit is regenerated unfortunately your mind remains untouched and it is your responsibility to get your mind lined with up with your regenerated spirit.
The Word of God is not saying that He, God is going to take captive every thought. It is saying that you must take captive every thought. It is your responsibility. Now Romans 12:1-2 becomes a little clearer to you.
God wants to transform us but to do so we have a responsibility to give our bodies and mind into total submission to Him and as Paul says, it is something that is reasonable.
When we understand these responsibilities, it will give us a greater insight into James 1: 13-15. Remember whatever holds our desires controls us. So, let our desires be for the things of God.
Hence, 2 Cor. 10:6 states that we are only “qualified” or in a readiness to revenge all disobedience when our obedience is fulfilled. The word translated fulfill in this verse actually means to carry through to the end, to accomplish or to carry out. We must stick with the word until it is manifested in our lives. We cannot be half-hearted with it. We must let it be carried through in our lives unto the end no matter the opposition we face. This is likened to not giving up or drawing back unto perdition but believing to the saving of the soul or mind – Heb. 10:38-39. Transformation is therefore the product of an obedient mind which proceeds from an obedient heart.
Pastor Karen Bruce