Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 32:1-33:20 / James 1:1-27 / Psalm 127:1-5
No one is exempt from temptation; we are all susceptible to its allurement. It would be wonderful if we did not have to deal with sin’s temptation but as long as we are breathing, we will be tempted. James tells us his process of temptation, “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.” (James 1:14,15)
We are drawn to temptation because of its attractiveness. Man fell into disobedience because of sin’s attractiveness. There were many trees in the Garden of Eden, but one seemed more attractive. The first stage of temptation is to look, to take notice. Sometimes we innocently see something while other times it is intentional. Like the childhood song, “So be careful little eyes what you see…”
Temptation attracts us because we are drawn to it by our own evil desires called lust. Your friend may have a desire to shoplift so a day at the mall will be different for you than for them. You may enjoy looking at all the products but he admits he has a desire to steal everything in sight. You were not tempted but your friend was tempted because of his own evil desire to steal. A temptation cannot tempt us unless there is a “desire” or “lust” in us for it. All of us have weaknesses and lust.
We are drawn, attracted and then enticed. The word “entice” means to bait or to snare. Fish will not bite a bare hook and bare hooks will not lure men. Bait the hook with a live, moving, attractive, temptation while hiding the real consequences…and man is lured to bite. Man is vulnerable to the attraction and advertisements of sin.
When we take the bait, we are hooked, “when desire has conceived”. Like a fish, we take the bait and swim away with our prize. Our lust reaches a heightened fulfillment and adrenaline courses through our body. We can taste the satisfaction of our victory but it is only short lived…sin ruins our fun!
We swallow the bait but something isn’t right. It doesn’t feel quite right because sin is birthed in us. That hook takes hold and we quickly recognize there is something pulling and controlling us. We desperately attempt to dislodge sin and remove the hook but it is fully wedged in us. It becomes “full grown” and is part of lives. There is no separation from its influence and presence.
Finally after fighting the inevitable, we give up to power of the tempter. He reels us into a net of certain death and no return. We will not live to swim another day because we have fallen prey to our inward desires of lust and outward enticements of temptation. We need to be careful where we swim. The murky waters of the world are laced with allurement. We must stay in God’s school of protection and fellowship. We can’t afford to swim alone…temptation is always present!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!