“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grow, gives birth to death” James 1:15.
Let’s face it…we all have our own flavor of sin that lies right under our spiritual surface. With Satan and his worker bees so involved in our lives it would be easy to take on the mentality ‘the devil made me do it.’ This thinking is like blaming our obesity on the butcher…our smoking on our parents…or our bitterness on our circumstances. Satan merely capitalizes on whatever weaknesses or tendencies already reside in our hearts and minds. He baits but we bite. My commentary states that full-grown sin is easily expressed ‘when it becomes a fixed habit.’
It all begins with a desire of the flesh followed up with thought. Thought then turns into plans and plans acted upon becomes the full bloom of sin. Dr. K.A. Richardson states that the original translation of desire in this text is in a negative context that is similar to deformed desire. Beth Moore describes this deformity perfectly. ‘I so often willingly reach for exactly what would burn me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I loved it then hated myself for loving it. Then I’d hate it but hate myself for choosing it. Somewhere along the way we have to own our own deformed desire. We have to take responsibility for setting out our own bait and biting it.’ James, p. 59. We only have to look at the relationships that our weaknesses affect to see that our habits can steal happiness…can kill love…can destroy trust…sin giving birth to death.
The good news this morning is that we have been given escape hatches from our evil desires. God would never place us in an environment where we were doomed to fail. We must be willing to lay down the things God reveals that lead us away from temptation. If we wish to control our eating we can’t hang out in the bakery. If our temper is our sin we cannot place ourselves in confrontational situations. It doesn’t take rocket science to know a few necessary strategies to guard ourselves. And then there’s Christ…
In Christ we have everything we need to battle our own weaknesses building a spiritual fortress against both ourselves and the devil. ‘No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.’ 1 Co. 10:13
So may we all recognize our weaknesses that lead to sin, implement some healthy strategies and guard ourselves in Christ Jesus.