Making an application of James 1:13-18 came easily along with an opportunity to think through it in a Bible class setting. (In fact, that class is one of the reasons I am doing this daily blog.)
The previous post identified an important idea in the text. This text is about the decisions we make in life and their results. There is an obvious reference to the process of how sin comes about. By looking at it and thinking about it, deconstructing it to look at its parts, you soon begin to realize that you can also see the pathway to verse 18.
“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18).
The end result of this process is that we become “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures”–a representation of faithful Christians. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” (Ephesians 2:10). We are a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The point is that God creates us anew through His word.
That word is not magical, but it is powerful. That power is found in the information it provides and in the blood of Jesus that it exposes to us. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin, but the word of God helps us learn how to stop sinning.
So look at the process of sin and death.
- The process begins with desire. It draws us away and entices us.
- When desire conceives, it brings forth sin.
- When sin grows fully, it produces death.
And deconstruct it.
Desires draw us away and entice us.
How? Desires are not evil at their most basic level. Now, I don’t mean that there is no such thing as evil desires. The Bible tells us this much. But those are what I would call “intermediate desires”. The most popular example is sexual lust.
The desire for sexual contact is perfectly normal for healthy people. There are certainly good reasons to have the desire, and God created it for the good of humanity. We all know that. In the correct circumstances (lawful marriage), sexual desire is a blessing from God. So it is not the desire itself that is evil. It is the wrong application of that desire. It is allowing the desire to cause inappropriate thoughts to linger.
The desire for sexual contact can also have deeper, more basic motives. Sometimes it can stem from a desire to feel loved. It can come from a desire to connect or to feel accepted.
It begins at some level as a desire. But we are enticed and “drawn away” by that desire. The question should be asked, “Who does the enticing, and how?”
We might think that the desire itself is what entices us, but that does not fit. Going back to the sexual desire, we recognize that a person can be “enticed” to do either good or evil by the same desire. Does the same desire entice both to good and evil? That would not be the best way of explaining it.
We are enticed to sin by Satan, and that comes from ideas we have been taught. We could even say that our minds recognize natural desires and conceives an idea. I have no idea how to explain how a thought forms in my mind. I know what a thought may be, and I know where the thought came from, but I cannot tell you why some pieces of information are used to form the idea while other pieces of information are ignored. And I don’t have to know. I can still learn to control my desires and avoid sin.
An idea forms.
We may not even recognize what that idea is because it might be part of a larger set of ideas. But it is there. Everything we do is based on the thoughts we form in our minds and the systems we create based on those thoughts.
So we have the desire to gain money. And that desire conceives an idea, or plan, or even just a spark of an idea. And then we act on it. Once we act on it, we are sinning.
That action can be another thought that is inappropriate, or it can be an action.
The step between desire and sin is essentially the same as the step between desire and righteousness.
It is based on information. We have the desire and we want to find a way to fulfill it. We then concoct a plan to fulfill it that is often based on what has seemed to work in the past and what we have seen others do in similar situations. If that information is good, the resulting plan will be directed along the path of righteousness. If the information is evil, the resulting plan will be directed along the path of sin.
The path of righteousness leads to us being children of God–firstfruits of His creation.
The path of sin leads us to eternal separation from God.
So the decision begins and ends with us. We must take responsibility for our actions by looking to feed ourselves appropriate information. And this only comes by intentionally thinking about a new way of living. Hence, we are told in James 1:5 that we should pray for the wisdom to know how to endure the temptations we are facing.
These ideas explain the wisdom we need.
Make some application.
Do you see sins in your life that you seem not to be able to overcome? The answer is not to give up but to seek the wisdom of God in handling it. The answer is to look at your fundamental desires and find those pieces of information you have come to believe that produces the ideas that lead to the sin.
I never said it would be easy.
Think also of how you can help others in similar situations? Can you overcome sin in your life and learn the process and thoughts you had to “reprogram” and share them with others? Can you sit down with another person and show them how sin creeps into life and then show them how to look for and apply the right kind of information so that they can overcome it too?
I never said that would be easy either.
But you can do it. You must do it. Your life depends upon it.
And so does mine.
Let me know in the comments what ways you can think of to address these things in your own life. Or email me and I will be glad to interact.
See you tomorrow!