Currently I'm reading Kenneth E. Hagin’s, 'The Triumphant Church: Dominion Over All the Powers of Darkness’. In the chapter entitled 'The Devil or the Flesh?' he states,
“People can’t lay everything off on the devil and blame him for all the bad things that happen to them. Not all evil is directly the work of a demon. Indirectly of course, everything that is evil originated with the devil. But the point I’m trying to make is that people still have their own part to play in wrongdoing – the choice is theirs. 
Thereafter, he begins to teach on lust.
To give you a bit of my background, prior to this reaching, I was of the school of thought that devils, demons, and spirits have the ability to influence you, and even went so far as to believe they were behind all poor behavior. Though true in some regard, Bro. Hagin also points out that…
“The Holy Spirit uses the believer and his personality and body to work acts of righteousness (Phil 2:13). The devil can also use the believer and his fleshly, carnal nature and the pleasures of his flesh to influence him to work acts of unrighteousness and disobedience.’ 
And because I was of the school of thought that poor behavior was the result of an influencing spirit, I had to reconsider when Bro. Hagin pointed out the factor of the flesh and backed it up with scripture. Ephesians 2:1-3 says,
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once CONDUCTED OURSELVES IN THE LUSTS OF OUR FLESH, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
James 4:1-3 also says…
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure 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. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
But this is where it gets interesting. He points out that lust is translated ‘pleasures’ which means that “lusts are pleasures of the flesh [and that] pleasures of the flesh aren’t demons or evil spirits.” 
When I read that I had to reconsider my spiritual influence stance which would now there is a prerequisite, precursor, or prework that happens prior to a believer being influenced spiritually. That prerequisite, precursor, or prework is lust. Meaning you desire something pleasurable before you’re spiritually influenced to take action. Some may be thinking, “What’s wrong with that?” Everything, if it’s not pleasurable…in and/or with God.
Lusting Over Institutions and Ideas
I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the Golden Bachelor. This is ABC’s inaugural version of The Bachelor except the participants are retirees seeking love. The premise of the show is an excellent example of how lust works.
The golden bachelor’s is a 72-year-old widower and restaurateur by the name of Gerry Turner. Twenty-two contestants came to possibly meet the supposed love of their life. But how is it possible that 22 women from all walks of life, think that the same is man is their future husband? It’s similar to what happened to Eve in the garden.
When the serpent asked Eve about the tree of knowledge of good, Eve told the serpent that she and her husband would die if they ate of the fruit to which the serpent replied, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The serpent planted a pleasurable thought into Eve’s mind which in turn made her curious to the point that she began to DESIRE the fruit. That desire was lust, only it wasn’t sexually as most ascribe lust to be. Eve lusted after knowledge which would ultimately lead to the downfall of mankind.
This is also analogous to when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He told Jesus, “…command this stone to become bread.” Mind you, Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days. Therefore, for him to command Jesus to turn a stone into something He’d gone without was an attempt to get Jesus to lust for food. Yet He did not. Jesus refused to use His faith in a way God never intended.
Romans 12:3 says that we all have a measure of faith. Not only that but we can use our faith [in God] to speak to mountains, and they have to move. Yet somehow, in 2023, we believe we can’t. But the truth of the matter is that if we would take the time to develop and exercise our faith to that point, we could. And I didn’t make that up, Jesus said we could.
“…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move;
and nothing will be impossible for you. – Mt 17:20
So, let me ask you this. Do you believe that Jesus could speak to a mountain, and it would move? Dare I say the majority of you answered yes, it would. Well Jesus said that we could not only do what He did, but greater works. John 14:12-14 says,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."
The only reason we don’t is because we haven’t developed our faith…yet.
And one of the reasons we haven’t developed our faith is because we use our faith for the wrong things, for the wrong people and in the wrong way.
As was the case with the 22 contestants on The Golden Bachelor.
Satan told Jesus to turn a stone into bread. Twenty-two women were assembled, nationwide, under the guise that Mr. Turner could be their future spouse. They were led to believe that he would fall in love with at least one. Not saying that the women and/or Mr. Turner are devils. We’re simply using them for illustrative purposes.
Several of those women left during crucial times in their and/or a loved one’s life to possibly meet the love of their life. One had a bestfriend in hospice while the other missed her daughter’s wedding. These women put all that aside because each thought Mr. Turner could very well be the one. Now how is it possible that ABC was able to assemble a cast of 22 women who thought the same thing? It was because they had been LUSTING over the institution of marriage and the idea of being a relationship.
Remember when I spoke of Satan presenting a stone to Jesus in hopes He would turn it into bread; why would he even think such a thing was possible?
It’s because Satan knows that our faith can turn anybody into anything.
Case and point. Have you been in a relationship (or two) where you thought that person was the one? He or she may have even led you to believe that they were. Yet the two of you are no longer together. Why is that? Because you used your faith and turned that stoney man and/or woman into bread. You took fruit off of that person’s tree thus resulting in the death of the relationship. But when you pull back the layers of how it happened, at the core you’ll find lust. And lust is simply you desiring something or someone not meant for you. Not saying that the person is a bad person. They just weren’t meant for you.
Another thing to consider is that lust is often only seen as sexual or romantic but lusting can apply to almost everything. You could have lusted after the idea of how a certain career would be, a home, a car, certain shoes, bag, or what it would like to be in a particular business. The thought of a particular food may appear pleasing yet it’s full empty carbs. It’s a mindset of you lusting for things that you ought not have.
As it pertains to The Golden Bachelor, several women said they say their life with Mr. Turner. Each said they could see themselves waking up to him. Now how is it possible for 22 women to say they saw themselves spending the rest of the L I V E S with the same man? And it’s not as if he was secretly dating. They all voluntarily participated in group activities and eagerly went on group dates. He even went so far as to confess his love for more than a few. How is that possible? Well, that, my dear reader, I can answer but let me first preface this by saying let me preface this by saying there are different types of love; phileo, erotic, and agape, to name a few. I Corinthians 13:8 says ‘…love never fails.’ I once believed that verse meant that love lasts forever. And though it can, it is possible to love more than one person.
Take Solomon for example. Solomon had 500 wives and the Bible says that he LOVED them all. All 5 HUNDRED. So, when Mr. Turner said that he loved more than a few, it is possible because our hearts have the capacity to love as many people as we want. And though there are various types of love, God’s unconditional love for us and our ability to have agape love for our partner never fails. Dare I say some of you are still carrying a few of your former loves in your heart while being in a relationship today.
The point is this. There is such a thing as lusting. And if we would tell ourselves that we are not going to lust after an institution, after the idea of being in a relationship, lust after someone’s spouse or for a house, ministry, or even a burger; if we wouldn’t allow our minds to get to the point where the object of our desire consumes our thoughts, then we would be in a much better place to either actually receive the pure and the true man or woman God has for us, or we’d be in a position to receive what God created us to have as opposed to going through all the failures, heartbreaks, and disappointments. If we would just control our thoughts as II Corinthians 10:3-5 says, 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments….’that we’re in love or that this person is the one, as was the case with The Golden Bachelor. Instead, we should, ‘…bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’ Meaning, does this thing and/or person line up with the Word.
The best way to get started is to control your thoughts, and by control your thoughts I mean don’t think about them. I do realize this is easier said than done. It’s easy for me to tell someone who’s heart has been broken to just “Get over it!” Those ladies on The Golden Bachelor might respond by saying, “You don’t know how he made me feel” or “You don’t know what we had.” You also wouldn’t be able to tell them to just date another man. Only because that’s not going to work because that’s the reason she hooked up with Mr. Turner. She’s still lusting after the idea of a relationship and the institution of marriage. You can insert ANYBODY into an idea or an institution. You can even turn a stone into bread because remember, our faith can turn anybody into anything.
The point is that you’re going to have to let lusting go. In my own experience the way I have gotten over disappointment, discouragement, and heartbreak is to give myself an expiration date. I set a time in which I give myself the opportunity to grieve, hurt, feel discouraged, be angry, or express whatever emotion I am feeling. How long you might ask? If I told you it would probably discourage you but let’s just say, it’s aggressive but it’s that way because as mentioned previously, I’ve developed my faith in that area. But this is not about speed, it’s about healing.
During this time, I allow myself to think about whatever, look at whomever, remember whatever and/or discuss that situation but once the clock stops, that’s it! No more wondering. No more questioning. No more nothing. If you’re in a similar situation, you should prayerfully consider doing the same. Ephesians 4:26, 27
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
nor give place to the devil.’
This means you’re going to have to tell yourself, “I’m giving you until this day at this time to do all the pitying and questioning you’re going to do. After that, you’re not going to think about, look at, check on, or discuss this again.” And I mean you stick to it. Even if you have to physically remove yourself or tune the person out who wants to discuss it, do whatever it takes. But by all means don’t dream about it, rehash, relive, revisit and/or analyze what happened. Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. That situation/person can no longer receive time in your thoughts, can no longer take up space in your memory, and please oh please don’t give them any more room in your bed. This is what healing looks like. Understandably, there are some relationships which will require you to have to see these individuals. Limit the time and stick to it. Just know, there has to be a period where you can’t and that’s only because it takes time to heal. And you can’t properly heal playing roulette with the weapon.
After the expiration date passes, this is the phase where you’re going to have to give God some time to heal you. To allow Him to recalibrate your thinking and replace those thoughts with His because usually what happens is that you leave one lust for another. One man and/or woman for another. Not this time. Be still and be alone and allow God to do a deep work in your soul as it may take some time to detach that person’s soul from yours. Hence, soul ties. Give Him an opportunity to remove and/or replace those memories that you’re carrying and don’t get in a hurry. Give Your Heavenly Father an opportunity to heal your head, heart, and for some, your hips. Yes, your hips which means putting a hold on all sexual activities.
Putting an end to lustful living will only work when it is undergirded by the Word. Don’t think that you’ll be able to do this on your own. You won’t be able to will yourself away from that person. It’s not like you’ll stop thinking about that person, stop accepting calls, or stop allowing them to come by and then voila! – They’re out of your thoughts. This WILL ONLY WORK WITH THE WORD! You’re going to have to spend some time in God’s Word – reading it OUT LOUD DAILY. Am I going to give you scriptures to read? No because this is Your time with God. But you’re more than welcome to book a Wait Coaching session or buy a few eBooks to get you started.
But before I go remember, this is about lusting and lusting is desiring something pleasurable. Don’t for one second think that God doesn’t want you to experience pleasure. But there is pleasure that is pleasing to Him and that which should be avoided, as was the case with Eve, and the 21 women who walked away without The Golden Bachelor. Wait on God and allow Him to give you the desires of your heart.
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for lusting after something and/or someone You never meant for me to have. Lord, help me give ___________________ a deadline in my thoughts and in my life. Help me to not hold on and/or think about it and/or them. And Lord I ask for Your desires; what You want for me and who You want for me but not until I am healed. Until then, keep me in Your Word and close to You. In Jesus’ name.
1-3 - Hagin, Kenneth E. “The Devil or the Flesh?” The Triumphant Church: Dominion Over All the Powers of Darkness, Faith Library Publications, Tulsa, OK, 1993, pp. 56–57.
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