Copyright © 2012 by Derek Leaf . Not to be copied for commercial purposes.  Permission is granted to copy the unaltered, attributed page for non commercial purposes.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

Comments, questions or discussion can happen on Facebook

Go to the source! Discover what the Bible says about …

These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one.  The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.


Desires, if left out of control can cause damage on all fronts.  They lead into activities and attitudes that are destructive. So, desire can lead to sin.  The fact is that we enjoy them.  Obviously, that is why they are desires.  But the enjoyment covers up the fact that we have become their slaves.  We kid ourselves when we say, we can stop any time; our consistent failure to curb them betrays us.  The Bible shows that living by the Spirit of God is the only way to bring these desires into a right balance.

Bible Zone

Desires against God

There are many who focus their spiritual life on controlling desires.  The focus of attention is not seeking God, but control of desire.  The love of God is neglected.  Even if there is success, the resulting sin is pride that we have done so.  The objective is to be free to love God.  Consider 1 John 2v15-17

  1. What competing lovers are presented by the text?
  2. What desires does the world offer to satisfy?
  3. Can you think of examples in your life for each of these?
  4. What is the final outcome of the two key loves presented?

1 John 2:15-17   15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever..

Sinful Nature Controls

On a good day, all is well and we do good things.  On a bad day we end up doing things we regret, things which cause pain to others and harm our relationships.  Why is that so?  Paul relates his own experiences in Romans 7.v14-20

  1. What are the aspects of this struggle in us?
  2. What are the opposing sources that drive us?
  3. What do you think it means that sin lives in us?
  4. What experience do you have of this struggle?

Romans 7:14-20 14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.15 I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

  18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.* I want to do what is right, but I can't.19 I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.20 But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

Sin Nature’s Actions

In another letter Paul describes this battle and the actions that come as the sinful nature works in us.  Have a look at Galatians 5.v19-21

  1. What examples of sinful behaviour are given here?
  2. What does Paul identify as the cause of this behaviour?
  3. Most of us would be unaffected by some, but influenced by others - what do you see of yourself here?

Galatians 5:19-21   19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God..

Victory over Desire

Most, when confronted by a list such as in Galatians, say either - I give up since I can not fight it, or I will never do these things again.  Neither of these are successful ways of fighting the sinful nature.  Paul points us to another way:God’s way.  The following verses are either side of the Galatians 5 (v16 & 22-25) passage above.  

  1. How does the Bible tell us we should live?
  2. What is the result of living this way?
  3. What does it mean to follow the Spirit?

Galatians 5:16 & 22-25  16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.. ... 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.