In the Fight for Life
Verse 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
We closed our time together yesterday with the point that we have a choice when it comes to temptation. But what are our choices?
We know that temptation comes to all of us. There is no escaping temptation as humans and yet we can do some things that will lessen its control over us. We also know that it is more often than not a temptation to the negative. Knowing this we need to be alert to when it is coming.
James shows us the progression that temptation plays in our lives. It starts as a thought. The thought may seem innocent enough when it first flits through the mind but then we start dwelling on that thought and the desire grows. As the desire grows the sin becomes full bloom. It has gone from temptation to sin and sin leads to death. Maybe not physical death but it definitely brings spiritual death. This is why we have to be so cautious and deal with temptation before it takes root.
We need to remember that temptation doesn’t have to lead to sin. Jesus was tempted three times in the desert as He was beginning His ministry. The enemy came and tempted Him in the three main areas that we struggle against temptation – physical desire, pride and the desire for possessions.
Different temptations require different responses. The two ways to fight temptation that we should be using are the ones that Jesus used or told His disciples to use. Jesus fought the enemy during His temptations in the desert by quoting Scripture. Of course we can’t use this defense if we don’t know the Word. Unless we have some verses in our memory how do we expect to be ready to do battle?
Next we need to remember what Jesus told His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:41). He told the men to pray so that they wouldn’t give into temptation reminding them that the human spirit may be willing to obey and stand against temptation but the flesh is weak and can’t stand the pressure. The only way to combat this weakness is to be in constant contact with the One who alone is strong enough to fight the temptations that come our way.
These two tactics are the same available to us for winning the battle against temptation and ultimately sin and death. Are you ready for battle?
Making It Personal
How do you deal with temptations in your life? What verses do you have that you can use against temptations? Do you pray against temptation before it even arises?
Making It Personal Kids
What are the two things we can do to fight against temptation? Do you know verses that will help you when you are being tempted? Do you pray even before there is a temptation so that you can win over it?
Father, thank You for giving us tools to fight against the temptations that come our way. Help us fight against them before they even come. In Jesus’ name, amen.