Know ye not that they which run in a race run all*, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things*. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means*, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
— 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
What words would you use to describe our society? Materialistic, sensual, impatient, indulgent, undisciplined--these are just a few. We're also a "have it now" culture. Satan specializes in presenting us with opportunities for instant gratification while promising us that indulging our appetites will bring us the satisfaction we seek.
Human appetites, in themselves, are not sinful. In fact, they're God-given. However, because of our fleshly weaknesses, they need to be controlled. When our appetites rule us, we're in trouble. Paul likened the Christian life to that of athletes who are so focused on winning the race that they exercise self-control in every area of their lives.
That's exactly how we're called to live, yet we lack the motivation, determination, and power to do so in our own strength. For this reason, we need to rely on the Holy Ghost within us. If we yield our lives to Him and step out in obedience to His promptings, we'll have the strength to say no when fleshly desires feel overpowering (Gal. 5:16).
Another key to success is keeping our focus on the eternal instead of the temporal. Many decisions that seem mundane are in fact spiritually significant. Are you indulging an appetite that could result in the sacrifice of an imperishable reward in heaven?
When the Enemy tempts us, he always tries to keep our attention on our desire and the pleasure of indulgence rather than on the eternal rewards and blessings we're forfeiting. Just remind yourself how quickly immediate gratification wanes and how long eternity lasts.