Today’s Scripture: Galatians 5:24
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
We must realize that in putting sin to death we’re saying no to our own desires. Sin most often appeals to us through our desires, or what the older writers called our affections. Not all desires, of course, are sinful; we can desire to know God, to obey him, and to serve him. There are many good, positive desires.
The Scriptures, however, speak of “deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22), evil “passions” (1 Peter 1:14), and “passions of the flesh” (1 Peter 2:11). The apostle James told us, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).
It is evil desire that causes us to sin. All sin is desired, or perhaps the perceived benefits of the sin are desired, before the sin is acted upon. Satan appeals to us first of all through our desires. Eve saw “that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6). Note how the concept of desire is implied in “good for food” and “pleasing to the eye,” as well as explicitly mentioned in “desirable for gaining wisdom.”
John Owen was very perceptive on this subject: “sin also carries on its war by entangling the affections [desires] and drawing them into an alliance against the mind [our reason]. Grace may be enthroned in the mind, but if sin controls the affections, it has seized a fort from which it will continually assault the soul. Hence, as we shall see, mortification is chiefly directed to take place upon the affections.” (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)
Source: Your Holiness Day by Day | A Devotional by Jerry Bridges