But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.James 1:14-15
Back in the 1970’s the comedian, Flip Wilson, popularized the phrase, “The devil made me do it.” Actually, that lame excuse goes back to the very beginning. It was Eve who said: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Gen 3:13). Of course, Adam’s excuse was far worse, blaming Eve, but also blaming God: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (v. 12).
James puts the blame where it belongs, on each individual person “lured and tempted by his own desire.”
Sadly, desire doesn’t always stay just desire. There is a progression. Desire conceives and gives birth to sin. The thought becomes a deed. Deeds repeated enough become a deadly habit.
Someone has described this progression more fully: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
Yes, this progression, if not stopped, controlled, and resisted (James 4:7), leads to death, both temporal and eternal — the worst destiny imaginable.
But there is Good News: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The One who was “tempted in every way as we are” never sinned. In fact, He destroyed sin by paying the price through His life of obedience, His sacrificial death and His glorious resurrection. He wore a crown of thorns that we might “receive the crown of life” (James 1:12). Because He died for us, we live for Him.
Prayer: Lord, keep us from lame excuses for our sin. Help us resist temptation in every form. Give us Your strength, Your power, and Your forgiveness to live for You. Amen.
Contributed by Rev. Paul Peckman