How Are We Tempted? (Part two)

In medicine, the more that is known about how a disease is contracted, the better prepared one is to avoid it.

In security, the more one understands how the employees or customers steal, the more prepared the company is to prevent it.

In military, the more one understands how his enemy will attack, the better prepared the military will be to resist such an attack.

Likewise, spiritually the more we understand how we are tempted, the more prepared we will be to resist sin.

James 1:14: “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

What leads to sin?  First, one has certain lust(s) or desires(s) within the mind [The word “lust” in the original language can be used of good and wholesome desires (Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:7).  However, it is very commonly used of evil and wrongful desires (Romans 1:25, 27; 6:12; 1 Corinthians 10:6.) It is also used of desires of wrong priorities, and unwholesome attitudes  (1 Timothy 6:9).]  The means of temptation is through our desires.  Even normal, natural desires can lead to spiritual tests or temptations. Example: The desire to preserve one`s life is normal. It is normal to care for self (Matthew 22:37-39; Ephesians 5:28-29). However, what happens when this natural inclination is challenged by one`s commmitment to Christ? (Luke 14:26-27 cf Matthew 10:37-38; Luke 9:23-24; Revelation 12:11).  Example: Is there anything wrong with the desire for food?  Or physical intimacy?  No!  But such must be regulated by the word of God. Another example:

Second, one is enticed.  The word “entice” in the original language means “to bait, to lure by bait.”  Think of a fish-hook with a juicy worm on the end wiggling around before the fish.  One`s own desire(s) becomes the bait to lead us away from God.  The devil takes our desires and dangles them before us trying to get us to satisfy these desires in a way which is contrary to God’s will, or to put our desires ahead of serving God.

Third, the lure draws one, as a baited hook does a fish.  Please note that to be tempted is not sin (Hebrews 4:15), as we sing “yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin.”  Though, one may have certain desires, one must recognize the hook of sin and avoid grabbing hold.  In fact, one would do well to run from it (2 Timothy 2:22; Genesis 39:12).

The points I want you to remember are: (1) Satan does not make one do anything.  He lures one.  (2) Satan can use even good and natural desires to bait one.  Many times God has frequently, made available a legitimate way for one to fulfill those desires.  Satan tries to get one to fulfill his desires in a different way, a way which is contrary to God’s will.

James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

The imagery changes a bit from the previous verse.  This concerns conception and birth.

First, it starts with lust(s) or desire(s) existing.  The desire may be universally sinful, or it may be that one is not authorized to receive this desire in the way one seeks it, or it may be that the desire is begging for priority over serving God.

Second, this lust (desire) gains life and grows within one.  It is extremely important that we guard our minds (Proverbs 4:23; Mark 12:30; Romans 12:2; Philippians 4:8).

Third, this eventually leads to the birth of sin.

Fourth, the birth of sin leads to (spiritual) death.  Just like the fish which has been hooked!

Beware of how temptations come. Tempting situations one can avoid, should be avoid. Those things which are unavoidable (natural, physical desires of the flesh) one should understand how such can be used to tempt, be sober,  be diligent (1 Peter 5:8).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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