I spent Saturday afternoon with a dear friend and we got into a very interesting discussion and about what I will call, “the anatomy of sin.” We were exploring the question, “How do we end up in places we decisively go, knowing our sin grieves the heart of God and plays such havoc in our lives?”
We drank two big chai tea lattes over this one. We asked questions, shared our weaknesses and our victories and most importantly, went to the Bible.
This is what the scriptures say.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 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 1.13-15 NIV
The truth is that this side of heaven, we will continually struggle against our sinful nature but it’s good to understand why we struggle and fail against sin.
Scripture tells me that:
1. Temptation never originates from God. We are personally responsible for our sin.
2. Temptation begins when we feed an evil desire. It all starts in our thoughts.
3. We seek opportunity to sin.
4. We sin.
5. We suffer the consequences.
The process is simple but the deception is deep and the consequences are devastating.
The infinite, all-glorious Creator the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist (Romans 11.36) — disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed and dishonored by everybody in the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe. John Piper
Thankfully, there is more mercy in God than sin in us. He forgives and He makes all things new.
There is hope.
Transformation is the outcome of understanding temptation, learning contentment, trusting God’s character (“Who does not change like shifting shadows”– James 1.17) and refocusing our desires — humbly but strategically redirecting our thoughts towards holiness.
So much easier said than done – but possible because of Christ.
Lord, help me to marvel at the miracle of Your glorious grace.