I am sure you have been shopping in a store, said “Enough!” and headed to the register only to find yourself looking at all those things that line both sides of the register waiting area. Temptation Alley at its best, right?? What a marketing ploy!
Unlike me, you are probably a tower of strength in this area, right?? “I mean, look at all those things I forgot that I even needed!!! Right here just waiting for me!” If you have a Marshalls near you, you know exactly what I am talking about. Our Marshalls is 2 minutes away! Sad but true!
Okay, time to get serious for a few minutes.
James 1:13-15 NIV (focusing on 14 and 15 today)
“When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone, 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-grown, gives birth to death.”
We all encounter temptation, don’t we? Sometimes it is easier to resist than others. The enemy of our souls is an opportunist so when we are weak is when he will parade that thing by that he thinks will tempt us. It is so easy to act impulsively and be deep in it before you catch yourself. So we have to be prepared.
You have a fight with your husband just as you are leaving for work and as you drive you are thinking about how angry and hurt you are. He just makes you feel worthless sometimes. Then… yep, there is that handsome new guy and he is looking contemplatively at you… You look away. Or do you?
Yep, Satan is an opportunist.
“…but each one is tempted, when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
So, when does sin begin? Temptation is not sin. How do we know that?
Matthew 4 talks about Jesus having been tempted in the desert by Satan. We all know Jesus was completely holy. He never sinned, not even a “little bitty sin”. 2 Corinthians 5:21 said that Jesus had no sin. So though He was tempted He did not sin.
When we are tempted, it is not sin. However, by our own evil desire, we will be dragged away and enticed. Our own evil desire is the noose around our necks.
- We are distracted. (tempted)
- We allow desire to birth. (2nd look)
- We move toward this thing we want. (dragged away)
- We act on it. (enticed/complete fruition)
Before the Second Look
We need to stop before the second look! That’s the key to overcoming temptation. Reject it immediately and do not let it distract us from God and our walk with Him. Be ready and be vigilant in keeping it at the temptation stage.
We must reject the idea and replace it with Scripture. A good way I have found to do this is to write verses I need to think about on 3×5 cards and put them in several places – my pocket, on my bathroom mirror, in my car, at my desk… Read it over and over – memorize it even. Think about how it applies to your life. Ask God to help you resist. He knows our weakness and He knows we need His help in resisting.
“Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Do Not Linger
When is it sin? At the second look.
The longer we let our eyes and mind linger in the sin, the deeper we sink into it. The deeper we sink into it the harder it is to get out. As we talked about last time, all along the way God provides ways for us to escape. (1 Cor 10:12-13) We can ignore the way of escape or we can choose Him and His way and get out of it.
We need to take the first opportunity out and get our focus back on Him, because like the roots of a tree – the longer it is there the deeper the roots are going to go into us and the more damage there will be when it is ripped out. But if we do not rip it out, it will choke the very life out of you and me. I sure hope you know I am talking to me too here!
We used to have a huge pecan tree in our backyard. I was amazed at how many little pecan trees I found just starting to grow in the shrubs by our front door. If I found a sapling when it first started, I could pull it out pretty easily, but if it was as high as 12 inches, I could not pull it out.
Catch it Early
Sin digs in gradually just like those roots. As sin progresses it gets a tighter and stronger grip on us. It starts with the second look/thought about the temptation.
One of Satan’s tactics as I sure you too have experienced is to keep parading the same temptation by us. This is a 3-year-old tactic, right? After many presentations, we may be more like to succumb to it. So, again, we must be vigilant. When the thought pops back up, reject it, read, and think about the scripture and how God wants you to apply it in your life. If we stop it before we act on it, the battle with the sin can be reasonably simple to win.
Thank You, Lord, that even though Your Word is not always warm and fuzzy, it is always applicable to our lives. Thank You for protecting us and helping us to walk closely with You. Help us not to act impulsively when we are tempted. Please help us to be vigilant to preserve our closeness to You by not letting anything come between us and You. Please make us what You want us to be. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Go Deeper Today: