Tell me, please, how to get rid of lust? I pray to God to give me peace in heart and pure thoughts.
Understand that nature is powerless in front of sin
Apostle Paul had the same state and struggling with the lust of the flesh which the author of this question has and which all people have. Here’s how he describes it:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:18-24)(NASB)
We, people, do not have sufficient power in ourselves to fight against the lusts of the sinful nature. Any attempt to solve this problem by ourselves will lead to failure. Therefore …
Choose to be in Christ Jesus
He, the Savior of the world, is the solution and has the power to free us from the power of our earthly sinful nature, as Apostle Paul writes further:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)(NASB)
When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts, when we enter a covenant with Him, we receive the Holy Spirit who gives us power to live a holy life, not to be anymore sold slaves to sin and not be helpless in the flesh.
But someone will complain and say that he concluded a covenant with the Lord Jesus, received the Holy Spirit and yet finds he is defeated by the lusts of the flesh. What shall such a man do?
Choose to live according to the call of the Holy Spirit
When people are born again, i.e. when they enter the new covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ, they receive the Holy Spirit who comes to live in them. Thus, since then everyone has in himself the Holy Spirit, but also the sinful nature, that no longer has the power it has had once, for it is under the power and control of the Holy Spirit. It is now our choice of whom to obey: the flesh or the Spirit. It’s a daily battle which a Christian must fight and the Scriptures says about it the following:
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:5-13)(NASB)
The lust of the flesh urges us to sin, but the Holy Spirit that is within us urges us to live a holy life. We must choose to live and act always according to what the Holy Spirit urges us.
Along the same line Apostle John wrote:
Do not love the world nor the things in the world If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)(NASB)
And in the Epistle to the Galatians Apostle Paul wrote:
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:13-25)(NASB)
Inappropriate or evil thoughts that come into your heart are the spurs of the flesh that induce you to sin. Do not maintain these thoughts and do not feed them anyway, but as a child of God, walk by the Spirit and by the holy things the Holy Spirit is calling you to and about which the flesh tries to convince you that are too heavy, too boring, and so on. Listen to the Holy Spirit that urges you to study the Holy Scriptures, to pray, to fast, to tell the Gospel to people, to serve those who are in need and to behave with moderation in all things. May God help all of us to do this.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru