Hindrances to Discipleship: The Flesh - Part I - page 4

Receive our Publications and Updates
Complete Library
Knowing & Doing

From the Winter 2012 issue of Knowing & Doing:  


Hindrances to Discipleship: The Flesh

by Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D.Min.
Director of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute


« continued from previous page

  The primary object of desire, the bait it uses to ensnare people, is pleasure. Again, God is the author of pleasure just as he is of desire. A good that he grants to his creatures to enrich life, it finds its focus in the desire for God himself and communion with him. But pleasure can be twisted, corrupted, and focused upon indulging the sinful desires of the flesh. When this is the case, the New Testament uses the Greek word hedone, the root of our English word hedonistic. This particular word is always used in a negative sense in the New Testament. The desire for pleasure can easily get out of hand, leading to abuse of good gifts such as food, drink, and sex, to name a few. Pride, greed, anger, and many other serious sins can also dominate life, bringing terrible consequences in their wake. Paul tells us that nonbelievers are slaves to various passions and pleasures (hedone) (Titus 3:3). And Jesus warns that some who have received the word of God and appear to be growing spiritually are later “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures (hedone) of life” (Luke 8:14) and suffer spiritual ruin.
  To summarize, the flesh, fallen human nature, is at enmity with God and is driven by sinful desires that are stimulated by the pursuit of what a person thinks will give him or her pleasure. These desires, often incited by the devil or the world system, promise pleasure and satisfaction but produce idolatry and bondage. This is the heritage of everyone born into the world since Adam and Eve. In the next issue of Knowing & Doing, we will look at how to gain freedom from the flesh and victory over sin.

1. J.I. Packer, God’s Words (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 71.
2. J. Knox Chamblin, Paul and the Self (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1993), 50–51.
3. Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1978), 90.
4. Ibid., 91.
5. Packer, God’s Words, 73.
6. Lawrence Richards, Zondervan Expository Dictionary of Bible Words (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 284.
7. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 472.
8. Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 93.
9. Particularly helpful books on the seven deadly sins include Rebecca DeYoung, Glittering Vices (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2009), and William Backus, What Your Counselor Never Told You (Minneapolis: Bethany, 2000).
10. H. Schönweiss, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 457.

Thomas A. Tarrants, III, D. Min. Vice President of Ministry, C.S. Lewis Institute, has lived in the Washington, D.C., area since 1978 and served as president of the C.S. Lewis Institute from 1998 to April 2010. Prior to coming to the Institute, he served as co-pastor of Christ Our Shepherd Church and Director of The School for Urban Mission, both based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of two books and is a consultant for Church Discipleship Services, developing discipleship programs and materials to strengthen the local church. Tom earned a Master of Divinity degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Church Alliance.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
Page   1   2   3   4

To view this full article on a single page, click here.


Support Discipleship
Come partner with us in the
call to develop disciples for Christ!

Learn More

Discipleship Resources
Audios, videos, publications, &
small group DVDs for heart & mind

Learn More

Find discipleship conferences
and events in your area.

Learn More

Fellows Program
Do you want to experience the
power of a transformed life?

Learn More