Dealing With Lust

Dealing With Lust
Robert Wurtz II

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members?”  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:1-3)

It is hard to read the words of James chapter 4 without wondering how a person could know Christ and act in this way. Some have even suggested that James’ words belong to the interim period between the Gospels and the Book of Acts. It is just so contradictory to suggest that a true Christian could deal with what James is writing about. What can we make of these things?


It is helpful to remember that though a man or woman may be in Christ, they are still a man or a woman. It is our humanness and not to be confused with sinfulness. We are still programmed with the natural human desires that God deemed necessary for man to accomplish His purposes on the earth. For example, God gave Adam a command to be fruitful and multiply and a desire to accomplish the task. He gave Adam dominion over the earth and a desire to accomplish the task. Adam was created with a desire for knowledge and creativity. As descendants from Adam we all have a natural desire to eat, drink, sleep, etc. God gave Adam numerous natural desires and emotions – all of which He declared to be good. Adam had these good, natural desires, but He did not substitute any of them for His most important desire — a relationship with his Creator. 

When Adam fell in the Garden, the relationship that he once had with God was cut off. From that point forward he and his children would be subject to Sin. If we fast-forward to the day of Pentecost we know that for those who are in Christ, Sin has been dealt with. Nevertheless, we still have the ancestral characteristics of the first Adam – prior to his fall. That is, all of those natural desires that God designed into man. 

What is Temptation?

Temptation has been described as an appeal to the intellect to fulfill a good natural desire in a wrong way. This is true most of the time. We have good natural desires and needs, but the enemy comes along or the world comes along and solicits our participation in wrongly fulfilling those desires. For example,  Our inward, human desire for marital relations and physical affection are natural, God-given, and good; however, they do not discriminate. This is why we can feel an attraction towards a person that does not belong to us. It is a natural desire, but that desire must be made subject to the parameters God has established. If we feed this natural desire it can become a lust that draws us away after the object the lust is fixed on. We have to consciously make sure that our human desires are properly guided. This is where God’s word comes in. We have God given desires and God given instructions on how those desires are to be fulfilled.

Unnatural Lusts

 Sometimes Christians allow their natural desires to take control of them. In fact, they feed their natural desires until the become unnatural lusts. This type of lust is a power that will try to control us and even seem out-of-control. We have to be careful. Our natural desires, if fed into an unnatural lust, will begin to war inside of us against the desires of the Spirit. The war will begin within and will manifest ultimately in a host of other problems that are symptomatic of the lust problem. Keep in mind that covetousness is also a form of lust. James asked, “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members?”  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have…” It is natural to desire the things God created in us; however, the only way they will stay in balance is if we maintain our walk with Christ. If He is our primary desire and He is where we find our fulfillment, all these other things will typically stay in balance. However, what happens when we seek fulfillment in natural desires? Can natural desires replace our need for a relationship with our Creator?

Burning… But for What?

Have you ever noticed how people that buy products are called consumers? Why? Because we live in an age where the consumer is the most important person in society. Without the consumer our economy grinds to a halt. So it is in the interest of this present evil world to create an environment of discontentment so that people will keep consuming products. 

Our culture is a consumer based culture where products are used to bring happiness (fulfillment). This paradigm is at war with the kingdom of God where the Saints find their fulfillment in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, if a Saint is enticed to begin finding their fulfillment in the things of this world, the natural desire that they choose to find that fulfillment in will become an unnatural lust. Like a fire that is fed by kindling, so is the natural desire inflamed by feed it. 

Pick Your Poison

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NKJV)

The Western World with its present popular culture is such a finely tuned machine that it makes 1 John 2:15-17 sound almost like a prophecy. Over 100 years ago Psychoanalysts and Public Relations experts began using focus groups to figure out how to break through peoples’ inhibitions. They figured out how to exploit the lust of the flesh (possessions), the lust of the eyes (pleasures), and the pride of life (power and popularity) until living for selfish ambition and pleasure came in vogue. In fact, it became man’s reason for being and reason for living. The consumerist machine pumps out propaganda and products at a dizzying pace — sapping up every sale it can get. the world says, “Covet, and get possessions; lust, and indulge in immoral acts; envy, and climb the ladder of popularity and power!” 

All of these attitudes are blatantly anti-Christ. Nevertheless, when a Saint begins to wax cold in their relationship with God they are subject to falling into the trap that James speaks of. Lusts of all kinds will bring wars into our lives, into our homes, and into our churches. Perhaps you noticed that the more a person lusts for the things of this world the less they love God and others? Perhaps we should say it the other way. Regardless, we have to know that lusts of various kinds usually start out as the same God-given good thing it was intended to be; but when it is stoked and fed it begins to consume. 

Dealing With Lust

When our love and desire shifts from God to the things of this present evil world — the battle is on. To seek fulfillment in possessions, pleasures, power and popularity is the epitome of a Satanic paradigm. And for all that they leave the person unfulfilled. Why? Because lust is something that can never be fulfilled. The more you feed it the more it wants. If we are in this pattern we must repent and turn from the ways and pleasures of the world and turn back to Christ. We must take the desire that we gave to other things and give them back to God. We have to see and understand what is happening to us. You are human and you live in a fallen world. 

Mega Ego Infusion

Mega Ego Infusion
Robert Wurtz II

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:16, 17) 

The Century of the Self

In the early 1900’s Edward Bernay’s, nephew of Sigmund Freud, worked with banks, manufacturing companies, Hollywood, the Federal Government, and a host of other groups to exploit discoveries Freud had made about human psychology while performing psychoanalysis. All he really discovered is that human beings have unconscious desires that dictate their decision making. Basically, he discovered clinically that people are subject to the three things mentioned in 1 John 2:16, 17. Edward Bernays knew he could manipulate people in various ways by appealing to their unconscious desires because he said people were ‘stupid’. He was master of propaganda and invented the term, ‘public relations’ or ‘P.R.’. By appealing to men and womens ego (desire for self-exaltation), he could manipulate them into working hard and buying products designed to express themselves. It was at this time that products began to be marketed and sold for the sole purpose of feeding men and womens ego. Once we understand this fact, a lot of things about the world we live in today and why people behave as they do makes perfect sense. 

Possessions, Pleasure and Popularity

1 John 2:16, 17 is summarized as possessions, pleasure and popularity. This is critical to understand because a person that is moving in these things is of the world and is at enmity with God. That is a very very sobering thing to consider. If your life is about your possessions, living for pleasure and exalting in popularity you are a friend of the world and the enemy of God. Edward Bernays was the key figure in exploiting these things in modern times. He basically invented pop-culture. Think about it. We are taught in the world that we should build ourselves up so as to be envied. If people want to be like us then we have achieved the goal. This is the epitome of pride. This is the personality of Satan reflected in his present evil world. What? Should we think the world is in the image of Jesus? No! It is in the image of the Devil. Jesus was in the form of God, but did not think equality with God a thing to be grasped. He walked in utter humility. Satan uses every means he possibly can to exalt himself above others, including God. Jesus told the people that they were of their father the Devil and the lusts of their father they will do. This is why the rat-race of popular culture, that lives for possessions, pleasure and popularity is so effective. Forsaking this mentality would mean a complete change of personality and nature. God’s children have the mind and nature of Christ, not the mind and nature of Satan. If we pretend to be of God when we live for possessions, pleasure and popularity we add to all of our crimes the fact that we are misrepresenting God and are in line for a greater damnation.    

Critical Problem

There is a tremendous danger I want to explore in this entry that plays out on multiple levels. The danger is that we would turn the churches of God into a microcosm of the pop-culturalism we see in this present evil world, that we ought to be not only be immune to, but being salt and light to offset the moral degeneracy that accompanies it. Many believe that the only way to reach the world is to become like them, but this is obviously not Christianity. It is diabolical. Rather than being lights in the world, we become lights for the world. John gives us a snap shot of the primary motivators; the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Again, this is pleasure, possessions and popularity. They have been called the only three tools in the Devil’s tool kit with which he damns the race of men. To be given over to these three things is to be at enmity with God. To teach people that this is the path of Christianity is to play the Devil at the highest level. 

The ‘Rock Star’ Generation

We see the fruits of Edward Bernays strategy on every hand. The world makes zeros into hero’s and we call them, ‘rock stars’, ‘teen idols’, or ‘celebrities.’ Once these people are exalted, they are then used to promote (peddle) products that when purchased will give the buyer the sense that they are just as ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ as the celebrity that dons them. The working of these things is so subtle that one may think that this is happening through a natural course of events, while in reality powerful forces are at work utilizing television, radio, magazines, Internet social media, etc. to make people into stars that become similar to what are known in business as cash cows. In business, a cash cow is a product or a business unit that generates profit margins so high that it is responsible for a large amount of a company’s operating profit. People are made up and built up to become icons that ‘sell’. They become powerful influences upon the everyday behaviors of the people that follow them. They influence how they act, how they carry themselves and most importantly to them, where they spend their money. When this process begins they are watched to see if they have what it takes to draw a crowd and sell goods. They get promoted until their popularity no longer has legs and they are eventually discarded as washed up. When the crowds start coming the money starts flowing. For example, when a rock star can no longer draw a huge crowd as before they drop their venue from the large football stadium, to the local basketball arena, to the large old theatre, to the county fair, and then finally they’re back to the bar or club scene they started out in. Then comes the mockery stage. Not long after the crowds stop coming the person is usually strung out on drugs and alcohol, dead, or mocked by the next generation that loathes their accomplishments almost as much as their admirers loved them. Very few fully escape this fate. All the while they that bought products to identify with the star such as clothing, etc., go into their closets and throw it all away and replace it with the latest stars clothing. When looking at old pictures they are horrified to think they used to dress that way or wear their hair that way, while at the same time not realizing that in 20 years they will be horrified by how they are dressing right now. It is folly to the uttermost. But it goes to show that what the Devil is doing in the world is working and working well! 

Moving to the Limelight

What happens? The world makes a person popular and a multitude of trappings ensue. They constantly have to be coming out with a new hit song or a new ‘cool’ outfit ad infinitum. The popularity of the movies, songs and clothing lines are designed to be so fleeting, that a steady stream of them have to be being put forward continually. They operate on the old saying, “a fool and his money are soon parted.” These people set the trends for youth and even adults that seek to be culturally ‘relevant’ in order to capitalize on them. This is one of the reasons why we have plunged into moral degeneracy in Western society. The television, radio, magazines, etc. of the 1950’s-1990’s changed the face of Western Nations by exploiting the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. This opened the door for the social media influences of the 2000’s and beyond. Suddenly, everyone on the planet was enabled to market themselves like a rock star, pro athlete, or Hollywood celebrity. This is what Myspace, Facebook, and other popular media outlets enabled. There was even a popular song written about it that suggested, “I’m soooo much cooler online!” If you will stop and think about it, this whole system has cultivated in the mind and heart of the average person a tremendous desire to be popular and idolized. Coupled with this was a new brand of reality shows that created a means of young people expressing the very desire the world was cultivating and that desire was to be an idol like the idols that were created before them. I don’t think its a stretch to say that it opened a desire in the hearts of young men and women to be worshipped and adored. Suddenly the young guy wants to be the object of a thousand young girls gushing and weeping holding their mouths in awe at a concert as when the Beatles came to America or as Elvis went on stage at the local concert. Talk about a mega ego infusion. But what happens when this shows up in the churches of God?

Self Exalted

We all have talents and abilities, but what are we using them for? Do we use them to exalt ourselves? What about our possessions. Do we use those to boast against others? Edward Bernays taught men that if they bought a cool car they could pick up girls. He advertised women with their arm around the man looking all starry-eyed. The sad thing is, many of man have bought a Corvette, Mustang or Camaro to pick up the girls and it worked. Too bad they didn’t know how Bernays thought they did these things because they were stupid. All he seemed to care about was getting paid to present these concepts and exploit fallen man’s unconscious sinful desires. What about athletes? They use their athleticism to exalt themselves. There is no new thing under the sun. I recall as a child watching Andy Griffith sitting on the porch under the moonlight playing his guitar to his girlfriend. Why? The same reason why girls in the 80’s wanted to marry a drummer like the ones in the hair bands. I watched it go on all through high school. It was like guys and girls sat around trying to figure out what they were going to do to get themselves exalted and marketable. These are all worldly mindsets and contrary to the Kingdom of God.

The Greatest Idol

For all that is in the world we ought not to find it in the churches of God. Yet, it is amazing how many Christians will preface their self-exaltation with statements like, “hide me behind the Cross, Lord.” This is foolishness. God has told us to humble ourselves. It is our job, not His. If He has to get involved it’s going to be a bad day. Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He didn’t seek to be popular and envied. No one was ever jealous of Jesus’ worldliness. He was not a rock star. Nor does He want His children acting like rock stars no matter what pop-Christianity displays. We are called to have the mind of Christ.       

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