God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1:12 - 15 (NLT)
A little boy was watching his Mom make cookies, LOTS of cookies. He smelled the delicious chocolate chips melting in the oven. The last thing Mom did before leaving the kitchen was to warn Junior to stay away from that cookie jar. When she came back she caught the little criminal who was up-to-his-eyeballs in cookies. “I’m sorry, Mom. I just climbed up here to get a look at the cookies and my teeth got caught on one.”
We smile at that kind of picture, but temptation’s no joke. Consider the downward spiral ride it always brings:
Desire comes first.
Desire is not sin. God gave us appetites that our lives might be enriched. Sin is an inappropriate use of our God-given natural appetites. Smelling the cookies was a pleasurable experience, but that’s not where the sin occurred. The suggestion came to the little boy that the cookies could be his if Mom wasn’t there.
Downward spiral begins! One cookie smell isn’t sin…hanging around to drool is danger!
Decision follows desire.
Hanging around to “drool over the cookies” is where decision comes in. The devil never makes you do anything; he can only suggest how wonderful it would be IF you do it. When you linger over something you already know is wrong, you are placing your heart, your commitment to live a Godly life, at risk.
Who isn’t familiar with David and Bathsheba? David’s sin began the moment he lingered, watching his neighbor on her rooftop. Then he began to enquire about her. David was a married man, lusting after a married woman. The downward spiral gave birth to sin in David’s heart.
Disobedience follows decision.
Many people misunderstand sin at this point. The actions we take are not the beginning of sins; they are merely the evidence that our hearts are sinful. They are like the measles spots. The spots only alert us to the fact we have measles; the disease is on the inside.
Desire giving birth to disobedience is quite a picture. Conception takes place on the inside. In the text the word used is a military word which means takes prisoner. The long look created lust, the lust carries you away, and then you are its prisoner. Satan’s work is successful; he handed off the temptation – you accepted it, and are now running down the field. Your only hope at this point is to throw the ball to Jesus!
The decision, made in our heart, makes us pregnant with the sin of disobedience to our Father. And that pregnancy is never stillborn!
For the little boy with the cookie rap sheet – his sin didn’t “occur” with the first bite. It happened when he gave his heart to the chair he used to climb up the kitchen counter. The step was up, but the spiral was increasingly down.
Death is the final result.
It’s the payoff! David’s payoff for his sexual affair with Bathsheba was the blowing-apart of his family. His kids lost respect for him. The kingdom God entrusted to David’s leadership became divided and a civil war erupted. It was chaos. His sin-fling led him to places he never intended to go!
The downward spiral of sin begins with desire and ends in death.
Be on guard…it’s a war!