2 Chronicles 28-29
“…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.” — James 1:14-15
When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit moves in, and our disposition of heart is changed. We begin to see the world from God’s perspective and are indwelt with a desire for what is good and right. This creates a dilemma for every Christian, because when the Spirit of God moves in, He wages war against the flesh. It is an ongoing battle, because our fallen nature still seeks to serve the flesh.
We know in our hearts what is right and it registers in our minds, but then the mind has to inform the will. If we have not reined in the desires of the flesh that are inconsistent with the will of God, we will not deny ourselves and will constantly be fighting a losing battle. To quote C. S. Lewis, “You can live a very sheltered life by giving in to temptation all the time. You never grow any spiritual muscle that way.” That is a sheltered life; give in to temptation and the pressure is off.
Once desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin. The words used here—desire, conception and birth—are parallels to human conception, beginning with desire, leading to conception, leading to birth. That is intentional. Once conception has taken place in a human womb, something has to happen to the fetus. It will either go full term or it may miscarry, but you cannot wish it away. It now has a life of its own. Sin that is conceived is never static. There is a progression in which it begins to develop and expand.
The conceived desire becomes sin not when we make a decision to do it, but when we make the decision not to fight it. We can then be sure sin will come, increase and infiltrate every area of our lives. And full-grown sin will pay its wages. “It gives birth to death,” James says. Death means separation and good things always die when we engage in persistent sin. It certainly builds something that dies between us and God as well as our family, friends and colleagues. Sin is never our friend and is always destructive.
Sin is a progression from desires of the flesh conceived within us, which then gives birth to sin and when full-grown, sin gives birth to death. The obvious and logical place to start in battling sin is to combine our disposition of heart, derived from the indwelling Spirit of Christ, with the renewing of our minds now geared towards God so that our will is entrenched in God’s will and our minds are made up in advance.
Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me strong and steadfast in You so that when I am tempted, I walk away, having made up my mind in advance. Thank You, Lord.