The Bible addresses the issue of temptation, by picturing it as a fisherman attempting to catch a fish. Unfortunately, in this scenario, temptation is the fisherman (empowered by Satan, our flesh and the world) and we are the fish. What is the purpose of temptation? To bring misery and death to those who choose to take the bait and be reeled in by the sinful forces of this world.
Here is what the Bible has to say about temptation and it’s results…
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (Jas 1:13-15)
In our first text, we find the steps of progression from temptation to the actual act of sin:
Step 1: he is drawn away of his own lust We come into contact with something that appeals to our desires. Much like a fish is attracted to the bait, due to its hunger.
Step 2: and enticed. Enticed means to deceive, mislead. Much like the fish, after being attracted, does recognize the hook; but believes that the bait is harmless.
Step 3: Then when lust hath conceived the idea of conceived means to grasp or take. Once the fish takes the bait, sealing his fate.
Step 4: it bringeth forth sin By acting to satisfy the lusts within us, we now commit the sin and, of course, bring an act of sin into our lives. The result of this sin? Death. Much like the fish that now has taken the bait is reeled to its awaiting death.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
To avoid the commission of sin we need to derail the temptation to sin process anyway we can.
Here are ways to derail the process at each of the first three steps of the four step process:
Step #1 – If we deal with our lusts properly… our sinful desires will be weakened and the opportunity to fulfill those desires will be lessened.
We will be avoiding as many opportunities to fulfill our sinful lusts as possible.
An example: If our lusts lead us to easily abuse alcohol, we should avoid going into bars or restaurants that serve alcohol.
Or, we can refuse to dwell mentally on our lust and its fulfillment, weakening our lusts by starving them.
An example: Do our lusts trouble us in the area of coveting the possessions of others? If we see something we desire that is owned by another, we should not continue to think on the items. This stirs up our lusts and opens the door to covetousness.
Step #2 – We need to stop and think about the true results of the sin we are about to commit. We will not see the bait as harmless but as something that will work death to us.
An example: How will this action affect me tomorrow, or next week, or next year? How will it affect those around me? What will it do to my testimony?
Step #3 – We need to seek the wisdom of God before we commit to actions we are unsure about. By doing this, we will be directed away from committing sin and resolving to do what is honoring to God.
An example: Before we commit to an action, we should seek out God’s Word and/or the Godly counsel of others, asking the question “What saith the Lord?”.
By derailing the process before the sin is actually committed, we will be avoiding future pain for ourselves and others around us; while pleasing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
Before you can begin to win the victory over temptation in your life, you must first submit your life and desires to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. This submission is an absolute necessity for the forgiveness of your sins and living a new life of victory over sin and death.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.(Jas 4:7-8)
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Rom 6:16-18)