When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
It is not often that I credit God for my temptations. No. But then again, it’s not often that I recognize them when they come. Our enemy has a reputation for being rather crafty.
I am not enticed by the partying atmosphere anymore.
But my warm bed is rather enticing on Sunday mornings.
I am not enticed by a life of deceit.
But a good gripe session with my girlfriends feels good sometimes.
I am not inclined to steal,
but a nice house, with a nice yard and a nice savings account is rather enticing.
Am I wrong to desire sleep, or venting or financial security? No. But there is a place where these things, when loved, cherished, and coddled, like a young child will grow. And as they grow, their hold on us grows. Till one day we wake up and we search for the pulse of our soul only to find none. There is no life giving fellowship. There is no freedom in trusting in Jesus. And as we roll out of bed we suddenly realize Goliath has moved in and taken his spot at the head of our table. No longer are we making the decisions for our lives. All of a sudden this small cherished thought is calling all the shots, all the while sneering at the remnants of our faith in a life-giving God. We stand there scratching our heads wondering how we never noticed a giant in our living room.
See, the thing is, he didn’t enter our homes as a giant. Even Goliath was a baby too once. So tiny, harmless really. Just a little extra sleep, just a little extra time in the office. Just this once…
Hence the warning from James above. Sin can seem so innocent, just like a little baby. It always starts as a thought. Sometimes not an obviously bad one. But sin will always lead to death.
take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
warns Paul in 2 Corinthians 10. Not every thought is evil. But no thought can squeeze the life out of you once brought under the Lordship of Christ. Make a practice of this: making every thought subservient to the One who brings you life. You see, Goliaths are much easier to deal with before they are full grown.