Our verse for today comes from James 1:14-15, ” But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. “
I’ve never gone hunting, but I have done some fishing over the years. And it’s pretty obvious, even to the beginner, why the apparatus at the end of the fishing line is called a lure. The whole intent is to lure the fish over to what looks appealing, and entice it to take a bite. And the skilled fishermen know that some lures work better than others on certain fish, or at certain times, or in certain locations. So it’s no surprise that James uses this fishing and hunting terminology to warn us about temptation and desire. But the question is, what are the lures that we need to look out for? Answer: Anything. There is nothing that cannot be used to pull us away from Christ. Something that has no effect on another may be your biggest struggle. Or an area where you used to have no problems may now entice you in a new way. James says it’s available to each person. And each of us has our own desires. We might call them something that doesn’t sound so sinful, but when James actually warns against things as good as hearing the Word and having faith, then we ought to realize that whatever takes our eyes off of Jesus, like hearing without doing and believing without acting, is wrong.
And look at the natural progression that will follow. Once we take the bait, the desire is conceived and gives birth to sin. And the sin will grow up in us and lead to death. To death? Well, not eternal death, for James is talking to believers. And few die directly from their sinful acts. No, James is warning that some part of us dies as we give in to our own desires. A piece of our compassion, or our patience, or our humility, or our dependence dies when sin has its way. And just as something dramatic or tragic has to occur to prevent a fetus from reaching adulthood, something major has to work in us to stop the sin. We have to actually believe and do what God says. We have to trust what seems improbable or illogical. We have to walk by faith and not by sight. We have to say, ” Lord, ” and mean it.
As we seek Him today, ask God to turn your heart away from the lures and keep it fixed on Him. Ask God to cleanse you from whatever sin is growing in you, and make His desires your desires.