Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.1 Peter 2:11 NIV
In Ephesians 6:10-17 Paul talks about the spiritual warfare that we are engaged in, urging us to put on the armor God has provided. In this passage Peter looks at one of the primary weapons of our adversary; our own sinful desires. In my own experience there is no bigger weapon in the enemy’s arsenal than my own desires.
Not all desire is sinful; some desire is actually very desirable: the desire for God, for my wife, and for my family. Other desires can go either way. The desire for food is good, but it can lead to unhealthy habits that are not good. And some desires, if surrendered to, will inevitably lead me into sin.
I don’t know how to kill desire in my life, but I do know all too well that if I feed it, it will become stronger. In contrast, when I abstain from fulfilling that sinful desire, focusing on something more beneficial instead, the desire will slowly grow weaker, or at least be more under control. It is important to recognize which desires are beneficial for me and which are destructive, and fight against, or abstain from, those that would destroy me, or at the very least hinder my walk with God.