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.
You are Going to Die…
The stark reality of that statement is not one we keep before us on a regular basis, nor is it one that brings us any joy. In our youth, we think our years are many, the future bright and our bodies invincible. Middle years blur the lines and we become so busy with life that we find ourselves much older and further down the road realizing that there is still much to do!
We are all a Product of the Choices we Make
We say some are ‘lucky’ or ‘blessed’ because they seem to ‘fall into’ provisions and blessings that seem to elude us. A lawn free of weeds doesn’t just ‘happen’… It takes a constant, diligent and watchful care to remove the weeds at first appearance and then to take preventative measures to keep them away. A garden that has a daily caretaker will be one of abundance.
God pulls back the curtains of our choices to allow us to see just where it is we begin to go awry and find ourselves in sin. He first addresses the accuser’s lie that God is the one who tempts us. God allows trials to come and with those trials, choices must be made. The temptation comes when our flesh is more alive than our spirit and we see things as benefiting ourselves and pleasure and not God.
We Become Impatient and our Desire Overtakes us
Satan has been around long enough and has studied us enough to know just what works in luring us away from doing God’s will for our life. It might be that shiny, new car. It may be money to buy that new house. It might very well be a need in our life that seemingly God has not yet filled and we become impatient and our desire overtakes our patience and we jump at the chance to fill that desire.
We see others blessed in areas we lack and jealousy rears its ugly head. For your heart and mine to feel those emotions is one thing – to act on them is entirely another. That is what God is teaching us. To lust over a thing and to take action on that lust is to begin the slippery decline toward sin. Allowing our eyes to look longingly at something God never intended for us to have or desires us to wait to receive becomes a matter of setting aside our wants and desires and taking up that God knows best for my life.
There is Always an Enticing Element to Sin
Whether it be pleasure, luxury, indulgence, or just an escape from the burden of life; we all have wanted to ‘treat’ ourselves thinking we are deserving of whatever it is our lust has conceived. Setting up barricades at certain points in our life will guard against going any further in those declining steps toward sin.
This means that we must study ourselves just as our enemy has. What draws my heart away? Is it the lure of money? Is it the revealing of flesh and the enticement of the illicit? Is it the giving in to the rising anger of my heart? Is it giving over to the emotions that seem to swallow any joy or happiness putting me into the bondage of depression? Is it wanting the praise of men? The allure of sin has many facets and faces, but it has but one goal: to put you and I at odds with God, our Heavenly Father.
Put up the Barricade and ask God to Show you the Right Way
When I feel the beginnings of anger, lust, greed or depression rising up in me, I must stop, put up the barricade and ask God to show me the right way to deal with what is going on inside. I figure, it is God who made me and it is He who can show me the right way to handle whatever comes into my life. But there is an element that we often forget. To have our eyes on that which is tempting; that which captures our heart, we have already taken them from where they should be – on God.
Peter experienced this when he stepped out of the boat to walk on the water. By faith, he stepped out and did what no other man in history has ever done. Had he kept his eyes on Jesus as he walked, I am sure he would have been able to come to the Savior and walked with him into the boat or across the sea. But his eyes went from the Savior to the situation and circumstances and found himself sinking. Such is our destiny if we do not learn from Peter.
God will come to our Aid if we but ask – But to Realize I am in Danger Enough to ask Becomes the Key!
That turning is like slipping our hands into the manacles and chains of bondage. Problem is, we don’t hear their rattle or feel their binding force – not yet. While lust is trying to do it’s work in pulling us away, we must have a barricade up to help realize that sin is at the door knocking. There is much more to be said for accountability and relationships that can be set up to hold us to that accountability. But today, suffice it enough to realize that we need those barricades to get us to stop and think differently. To look around and see just where we are and where it is we are heading.