By Joanne Highley
We all have desires. Some of these desires are worthy, healthy and should be pursued. Some of these desires are unworthy, deadly and should be avoided. Some are sexual desires which can be very healthy, godly and bring blessing to us and the world. Other sexual desires are perverted and driven by evil. A desire is a strong feeling that drives us to attain or possess something which is, or we think is, within our reach. Evil is the absence of good, that which is sinful, vicious, corrupt, morally wrong and wicked. So obviously, when you put together two words as powerful as evil and desire there is a reaction that is doubly powerful.
The Word of God recognizes the power of evil desire when it tells us in James 1:13-15, that, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ . For God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” So therefore, we cannot be tempted without having evil desire already in place. The temptation will have no power without the evil desire. This is a very important point for all of us to remember as we fight temptation. We must deal with the evil desire.
What would make a person have evil desire in the first place? We see that it came upon Eve as soon as the serpent suggested that perhaps God did not really say she should not eat from the tree. She did reply that God had said not to eat from that tree or they would surely die. But the serpent went further and found her weak spot when he suggested that, “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This is the point at which Eve turned to evil desire. She became the standard for deciding what to do rather than God. She saw the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, so she took some and ate it and gave some to her husband.
Thus we see the definition of evil is to turn from what God says and take it upon ourselves to decide what is good and what is evil. Now we become god and God becomes whatever we decide He is. This is the plan and delight of Satan.
Why should we want to do this thing? Why would we have evil desires that drag us away and entice us? One reason is that at an early age we felt that our parents were not right in the way they treated us and each other. We pulled into ourselves and became our own authority because we did not respect them. Likewise when we began to relate to God, we did not trust authority and so became our own authority in regard to the things of God.
In addition to that, we learned at an early age to trust our emotions and our sexual experiences (fantasy/masturbation) to be our refuge when we were upset or lonely or afraid. If we had relationships with other people and learned to use sex as our “love”, then when God tells us homosexuality is wrong we may try to agree, but deep inside where our emotions and sexual desires lie to us about what true sexuality is, we do not agree with God but rather go with “what seems good”. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” Many have asked me, “Why does evil seem so sweet to me?”
Another great block to getting rid of evil desire is the idea that if you have an evil desire, you are evil. It is so important that you see that having an evil desire does not define you. You can still be a Christian and have an evil desire. What do you do with that evil desire and how do you process it in light of the truth? This is where we must learn to resist that demonic suggestion that you have had an evil desire so you are already evil, so why no go ahead and do what the desire suggests. The Bible clearly says to depart from evil and do good. (Psalm 34:4) It tells us to hate evil, to abhor the evil and cling to the good. It is truly a false identity in the person who has had abuse all his or her life that says, “I must be evil or I would not be treated in this manner.” We have to turn from the lie of this identity.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust , evil desires and greed which is idolatry.” The Amplified version gives a real punch to this passage: “So kill, (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desires lurking in your members—those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God), (Colossians 3:5)
Evil desires lurking in our members. It sounds so out of control. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.” But that is what Satan wants you to think. That evil desire is something that just comes over you and you are helpless in its grasp. Let’s see if we can expose some of the lies inherent in this emotional reaction so evil desires can be put to death.
If you have a desire for sexual contact, you can go many ways with it.
You can go to God and give Him the control over this desire by your choice and prayer to ask Him to fill the empty place that you are trying to fill with the sex. You will need to write in your journal to get to the root of the desire so it will come out.
You can fantasize and masturbate, indulging the evil desires by having sex with yourself. This practice is harmful because it falsifies the definition of sex as God created it—a two-party activity done to become one flesh after the covenant of heterosexual marriage has taken place. Fantasy/masturbation keeps you on low simmer sexually and is cooperating with what Satan wants you to do—to remain in a homosexual identity and orientation.
You can go out to find a person with whom to have a sexual encounter. This is an even stronger delusion because you now actually become “one-flesh” in a demonic parody of God’s design and the feelings of “love” and “connection” or “control” become more strongly entrenched in your emotions when they are truly lies. There is no love or connection and certainly no control—only lying demonic substitution when is a trip of Satan.
You can decide to believe homosexuality is really a created design of God and begin a lifestyle of living as if this is good. Now you have given yourself over to a lying belief system that begins to destroy you.
Where on this spectrum does desire become evil? We believe that wherever you begin to agree with Satan and not fully turn from the homosexual lie, the desire is becoming evil. The more we justify our sin and our feeling of homosexual desire, the more we do not truly fight against our sin but rather begin to question God’s ways. “Why did He make me like this?” “Why can’t homosexuality be acceptable to God?” “I can’t get rid of these feelings, so what does God want of me?” All of these questions are the seed-bed of evil desires--trying to justify our sin and be the standard of what is good and evil instead of justifying God and His created design for sex.
There are many reasons why those of us who were trapped in homosexuality would turn to evil desires. Why doing something evil would seem so sweet. If we have been mistreated, name-called, laughed at, left out, abandoned, beaten, sexually abused, if we havelistened to years of marital discord between our parents, seen death, fire, insanity or poverty destroy our happiness and peace, been frustrated repeatedly, hopeless, victimized, then there develops a deeply rooted emotional stockpile of anger and ungodly responses to all this pain that collect inside us. We fear letting it out because we long for acceptance. In fact, acceptance becomes a false god to us. So the accumulation of ungodly emotions connect to our sex drive. This is what drives us to evil desire. We long to do something to express all the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the warped and twisted view of love and it comes out resonating with the twisted life we have experienced. We want to do something counter to the accepted way. We do not want to be like our father or mother. We want to do something mocking and bizarre like men calling each other “girl” or “she” or women trying to take on a masculine identity. This is not really studied or considered, but comes forth as an emotional reaction to pain and put down, abuse, lies, spiritual false beliefs and family breakdown. But we must remember the basic truth that sex will never take care of emotional problems. It only creates more problems until the emotions are uprooted and cleansed and our sexuaity is in harmony with God;s design.
However, the evil desires truly set in when instead of confessing our sin to God after indulging our desire for ungodly sex, we begin to justify our sin because we have been so hurt, left out, etc. Then we join in with the forces of evil in using our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness to quiet our inflamed emotions. Now evil desire really feels good---we feel justified in our sin and our emotions are numbed.
“Flee the evil desires of youth”, St. Paul said and he went further: ‘…and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord our of a pure heart.” In the Amplified Bible again we see a fuller picture of God’s plan to put to death evil desires. “Shun youthful lusts and flee from them and aim at and pursue righteousness—all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word and deed. (And aim at and pursue) faith, love (and) peace—which is harmony and concord with others—in fellowship with all (Christians) who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.”
So here we have the biblical pattern for becoming free of evil desires. But we must be patient and kind with ourselves as we “aim at and pursue” righteousness. Addiction is a complex form of sin and we have to write about what we truly feel to clean out old emotions, have them prayed against as we renounce ungodly reaction to pain. Then invite the Lord to fill those old places of pain with His light and truth. The truth truly does set us free if we become his learners and humble ourselves before Him. He will raise us up. And intimacy with God will be the final end of addiction and the beginning of a fulfilled life.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14)
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)
He will purify you and you will put to death those evil desires that war within you. You can be set free completely from all homosexuality—both the activity and the evil desires by the grace of God as you agree with Him and obey Him.