Ruling Over Desire

Hardly anyone knows why they’re alive, and few take time to consider the value of man and what God’s purpose was in creating us. We’ve been given the capacity to not only know the difference between good and evil, but to choose between them. We’re not like animals, without self-control, being led around by our instincts and desires. And because we can choose, for the good or for the evil, beyond the drive of self-preservation and gratification, we can reach our highest potential as human beings, or the lowest level possible.

And what is little known is that God gave us this age, and our lifetimes, for us to determine what level we would rise or sink to. We live in an age of wickedness when Satan holds the whole world under his power and influence to lead men astray from choosing and doing good. God wants each one of us to reach his fullest potential under the testing of this evil enemy. So, the decisions you make affect the human worth and dignity you retain. A person can keep the worth he was born with, even unto eternal life, but it’s hard. It will take perseverance and much suffering. Right back at the beginning of human history, God laid out what it would take:

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)

The word translated desire in these two passages is the same Hebrew word, and means stretching out or longing for something or someone. That “stretching” out can be either negative or positive. The potential is there for good or for evil, but as men and women are born with the knowledge of good and evil,1 they can and must rule over their desires. They must sublimate2 their human energies to good rather than to evil ends.

Woman must sublimate her fallen tendency to control her husband. She must rule over her instinctive desire for man so that she builds up and encourages her husband. When she does this, it stimulates him to sublimate his fallen tendency. Instead of dominating and oppressing her, he channels his passions to love, protect, and provide for his wife and children, and directs his sexual energies towards her. It isn’t enough that man would just have sexual feelings towards the opposite sex, but God intended that he would love his wife.

Men and women are able to sublimate potentially violent, negative, and destructive desires into desires that nurture, protect, and build, according to the self control they have over their personality — socially, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Doing so protects them from the schemes of the evil one, from succumbing to his evil temptations.

There are many obstacles that “man” (male and female) must rule over together, in one accord. Both genders must do their part, without strife or the battle between the sexes. But today’s world is plagued with feminists and male chauvinists, which has antagonized men and women all the more, leaving them isolated, and easy prey to the evil one. Few are left of those who rule over their passions and desires, even within marriage.

And so what becomes of those who yield to these evil impulses? The fact that God holds men accountable for suppressing the truth3 implies that they know the truth and must make a choice to suppress it. Those who say in their heart that there is no God (by which they mean no judgment based on their deeds) turn aside from the truth and become corrupt.4 That is, they start out their lives on a path guided by the truth in their conscience, from which they turn aside by their own choice, eventually becoming depraved. Righteous men defend God’s image, upholding the good in man as an existing state of being. They retain their self-respect and self-esteem as creatures made in the likeness of their Creator.

Every man knows instinctively that after death he must face a judgment, which will determine whether he has ruled over his evil inclinations and sublimated them to the good.

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7)

And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. (Genesis 4:11-12)

Cain refused to rule over his evil desire. And he was cursed like the evil one in Genesis 3:14. The very provision given to fallen man to maintain his dignity and worth by working the earth to provide for his family was cut off to Cain.

Having made himself worthless, he would share Satan’s fate or destiny in the Lake of Fire,5 as do all who will not rule over their evil desires, to the hurt of others. The same will be true for a wife who does not rule over her evil desire to take the place of authority in their family,or a husband who will not rule over his wife for her own good, and willnot work by the sweat of his brow to provide for his family.6

Men and women have the discernment to judge what is evil and what is good, and to name the evil and overcome it, especially when the evil is as Cain’s, to the hurt of others.7 Cain did not rule over his envy and anger. Temptation was an evil spirit crouching at the door to his heart. God, knowing Cain’s heart, warned him through his conscience not to submit to the murderous temptation.

After he committed first-degree murder, Cain’s punishment was greater than he could bear.8 He would not have enough human worth left in himself to pay the wages of his sin.9 All men are appointed to die once:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

This is the first death,10 and then comes the judgment to determine whether the sins committed, the evil done, would make a person share in the same destiny as Satan. To not rule over evil desire eventually makes one worthy of the Second Death, for he loses all trace of the image of God and takes on the very nature of the evil one, for whom the Second Death is prepared.11 Yahshua took the sins of the whole world into death and paid for them by experiencing the full wrath of God against our transgressions. Those who do not have a sacrifice for their sins must pay sin’s wages: the First Death and then even the Second Death if their sins were more than they could bear, that is, pay for in the First Death.

Please read “What about the Heathen” for more about the First and Second Death, and the Three Eternal Destinies of Man.

  • 1. Genesis 3:22
  • 2. Sublimate: to divert the expression of an instinctual desire or impulse from its primitive form to one that is morally acceptable and constructive.
  • 3. Romans 1:18
  • 4. Psalm 14
  • 5. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10
  • 6. Genesis 3:16-19
  • 7. Such as the evil mentioned in Romans 1:26-32
  • 8. Genesis 4:13
  • 9. Romans 6:23
  • 10. Hebrews 9:27
  • 11. Matthew 25:41

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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