Long ago a deacon at a church I attended told me he’d like to get together with my wife and I. He couldn’t tell me what it was about, but he assured me it was spiritual.
It sure was. It was Amway, and he tried every tactic he could think of to tempt me to long for the riches of this world.
“Deep down, ” he said, “you know you want a BMW. Admit it!”
This is a bad example because for some reason I was born without the longing for a BMW, or a Ferrari, or whatever hot car that most people long for. I’ve had my own struggles, and most of the typical fleshly lusts, and I have not spent my life as an icon of self-control. Cars, however, would be a pretty stupid thing to tempt me with. As long as I had a reliable car to drive, I’d trade a Camaro (my favorite sports car) for a box of Chips Ahoy™ cookies, especially if you threw in a half gallon of milk. A Camaro and a box of cookies have equal value to me.
The point, however, is not a specific desire, but our desires.
My fleshly desires are not “deep down,” and they are not secret. My friend said, “Deep down, you know you want it.” Others say, “Secretly, you desire it. Admit it!”
It’s not secret! It’s not deep down! I don’t have to admit it—we don’t have to admit it—because we’ve never been hiding it.
We are overcoming the desires of the flesh, not hiding from them. We are crucifying the passions of our body, not pretending they don’t exist.
I’m a human being. Sometimes I want revenge. Sometimes I want attention (which is not always bad). Sometimes I want fame (which, as a desire, is always bad). Sometimes I want money. Sometimes I just want to relax and taxe some time for me (also not always bad, just usually).
Either way, it’s not a secret. No one makes me more tempted by reminding me that I travel this world in a body that must be disciplined and brought under control so that I do not perish like my deacon friend certainly will if someone has not gotten him to obey the Gospel of King Jesus.
It’s also not “deep down.” It’s right on the surface. It’s a battle I fight every day, gladly, because I am not just human. I am a partaker of the divine nature, and I strongly oppose the evil demons (1 Pet. 5:8-9) and the lusts of my body (Rom. 8:12-13) because I know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).