“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” —1 John 2:16
Every Christian is engaged in a battle on three fronts. Firstly, there is the flesh, which is our sinful nature, desiring what is contrary to the Spirit. Secondly, there are the overwhelming influences of the secular world we live in. Thirdly, there is Satan, who will do what he can to turn us away from God. On all three fronts, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are evils masked in countless ways, luring us into a battle of the flesh, the world and the devil.
This battle seems like a lot to contend with, and it is. In fact, we cannot gain victory without the indwelling Spirit of God. The reason being because we are all born with a sinful nature, inherited from the first man, Adam. Paul writes, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...” (Romans 5:12). As Christians, Christ cleanses us of our sin, but we still retain our sinful natures, and therefore the battle.
Material wealth, status and accomplishment are greatly valued in society today, so we try our best to achieve them. We want to be seen as successful, respected and prosperous. This is the nature of human nature, and it is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life that prompt many into turning their backs on God in order to gain what they want out of life. There is nothing wrong with being prosperous, successful and accomplished, but what matters is the means by which we get there—the battle.
The most important decision we can make in life is who is going to be our master. Will we choose to be the god of our own lives, pursuing what the world has to offer, or will we come in humble repentance as a sinner to Christ, allowing Him to be our Master? The latter is the way of the Christian, and a Christian does not struggle on their own. We have the divine power and life of Christ indwelling us, which makes the battle of the flesh, the world and Satan not only a battle against us, but against God.
This changes everything, because we are being changed. Paul tells us that we are “...transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Paul is referring to the image of Christ. When faced with temptation, standing in His strength not only wins the battle, but deepens our dependency on Him. The wonderful consequence is that the more we do so, the temporal and material things of this world will grow utterly meaningless in light of spiritual treasures that are eternal and promised to us in Jesus Christ.
Precious Jesus, I am weak and prone to temptation in many areas. I pray for your strength to uphold me and keep me focused on You as my Lord. Thank You, Jesus.