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Fighting Temptation

“No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” 

James 1:13-15 HCSB

Don’t we each wish that after responding and receiving the gift of salvation and eternal life there immediately and instantaneously appeared a fence guarding us from sin? This is not the case. The reality is that sin and sinning is forever an integrated part life. We, like the Apostle Paul, “sin and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” This means that life is one continual cycle of getting it right and getting wrong, of winning and losing the fight within our flesh.

This month I am preaching on sin, sinners, and grace. During my time of study I stubbled across a word I learned in systematic theology, concupiscence. The word describes the fallen human tendency or strong desire toward engaging in sin. It does not imply that humans will always fall into sin but simply that humans will desire sin even if they choose not to engage in it. The question I have wrestled with is this: how could such a spiritual swamp of weakness and wretchedness exist within the experience of real Christian conversion? How can Christians fight and often fall and fail when Jesus came to bring abundant life?

James offers some answers. We must identify the source. The source is not God. The source is self. We struggle with sin because knowingly or unknowingly we place ourselves in places and positions where the flesh is enticed and not our faith. I pray that we each become more focused on things that feed our faith and not our flesh.

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