July 22 I Sunday

Psalms 31-32

Acts 23:16-35

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  —James 1:15


When a person becomes a Christian the Holy Spirit moves in, and our disposition of heart is changed. We begin to see the world through 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. We can be very good at rationalizing our sin, thinking “just this once” or “it isn’t going to hurt anyone” or “no one will ever know,” but the truth is sin always finds us out. Sin may start
out small, but it always escalates.

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. Something certainly dies between God and us. Trust and intimacy are broken down, not only in our relationship with God, but with 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 give 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: Lord God, I know what is wrong, but deciding not to sin can be so difficult. Renew my will so that I do not allow sin and death to be conceived in my life any longer. Thank You, Lord.

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