Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Powlison on Lusts of the Flesh: Question 2

Here is the second question in the 15-part Powlison Q&A on lusts of the flesh:
2. Why do people do specific ungodly things?

Lusts of the flesh is meant to answer the Why question at the heart of any system that explains human behavior. Specific ruling desires--lusts, cravings, or pleasures--create bad fruit. Inordinate desires explain and organize diverse bad fruit: words, deeds, emotions, thoughts, plans, attitudes, brooding memories, fantasies. James 1:13-16 establishes this intimate and pervasive connection between motive and fruit this way: "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." (See also Gal. 5:6-6:10; James 3:14-4:12.)

In modern language such sinful cravings often masquerade as expectations, goals, felt needs, wishes, demands, longings, drives, and so forth. People talk about their motives in ways that anesthetize themselves and others to the true significance of what they are describing.