Taming Temptation: Anatomy of Temptation

James 1:14-15
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the “sundew.” It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim. (Our Daily Bread, December 11, 1992.)
This simple story clearly explains to us the internal working processes of temptation. First, we are tempted as we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed. To be enticed is simply to be attracted by something that offers pleasure or advantage, it is to be seduced. That attribute of pleasure or advantage is what pulls us towards temptation almost with an intoxicating effect. The focus on pleasure and the advantage distract us from the hook that lies hidden within.
If we give in to the enticement just like the little bug that dances on the sundew, we become engaged in the sin that was underneath the temptation. This means we become busy and occupied with it. It takes the central stage in our life because we are after pleasure and advantage. To be tempted is not to sin because even Jesus was tempted but he did not allow the enticement to lead him to engage, he countered it with the word.
If we do not wake up to the realization that we have sinned and thus run to God in repentance, then we become entrapped just like the bug in our story. We soon get comfortable and enjoy the thrill of sin and before we know it, the sinful behavior becomes a stronghold in our life. We become trapped and if we do not run back to God, then there is only one outcome that awaits us, sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Remember, the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Only Jesus can break the chokehold of sin over our lives.
May we wake up to the realization that the pleasures and advantages of sin are not worth it, they may seem enjoyable at the time but the end thereof is death. As David said of the wicked in Psalm 73 “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”


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