“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)
Before you can win a war you must know your enemy, understand his strategy and then defeat him. When sin’s birth place is over looked, a misdiagnosis will be made and this will cause people to miss God’s solution for overcoming sin.
No outside influence can cause you to sin. James teaches that the trouble begins within in your own heart. Everyone has an evil nature and several times daily is tempted to sin.
All are like the little boy who went into the pantry. His mother could hear him get the cookie jar down from the self. She called to him and said, “Willie, what are you doing?” The little boy replied, “I am fighting with temptation!” If the little boy understood his heart and the power of sin, he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be drawn into the pantry. Jeremiah warns, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:19)
Sadly, Christians and non-Christians alike are trying to fight temptation. Rather than recognize where sin’s birthplace begins and trust Christ to empower them to defeat such a powerful adversary, they turn to sources who give them excuses and put minimizing labels on their sins. Pornography, for one, is adultery. Curious looking is a foolish thing to do. However, willful purchasing, watching and feeding on pornography is sin in the heart. Jesus said; “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5: 28) Alcoholism is drunkenness and is obviously an act of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5: 19) Bad behavior is sin. (Romans 3: 23)
When desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. “Conceived” in the Greek actually means “to become pregnant.” Conception is the joining or the union of two. When the sinful nature joins with the lures of the world or the devil, sin then rules. Temptation itself is not sin. It is when the thought in the heart is carried out in a plan of action. Martin Luther expressed it this way, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep birds from nesting in your hair. So sin is the consummation of the act inwardly and outwardly.” Rest assured that desire, unchecked by the Holy Spirit, will bring forth something tragic. When the desire in the heart is joined with the outward temptation, there is a birth - a birth of sin.
The sinful nature, the enemy within, must have outward intervention if you are going to win the war of the flesh. The war that wages against your soul, can only be won as you first agree with God on what sin is and where it begins--in the heart of mankind. Only by having Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord can you be able to beat those daily battles with temptation.
Many a fallen Christian, sinner and obedient child of God has experienced God’s forgiveness and empowerment to overcome the bondage of sin. The words of Jesus ring loud and clear, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8: 11)
Today, you can become victorious over sin, accept Christ!