The history of every every temptation that causes us to sin is always the same:
- First, there is the the outward attraction to whatever it is we want. That thing we can't stop thinking about; that that thing we think we just have to have, or do, or be;
- Then, there is the inward turmoil in our minds, making excuses, doubting and/or rationalizing, twisting or ignoring what God has said;
- Finally, succumbing to the desire.
This process is what James was describing when he wrote:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
That’s why it’s so important that we nip temptation in the bud, because the longer we think about it, the more chance the enemy has to entice us, the
more confused our minds get, and the less we hear the voice of God. The Holy Spirit within us may be telling us, “Uh-oh! You don’t want to do that!”
but we get very hard of hearing because we are not focusing on God, but on our own lusts.
Being tempted is not a sin. Jesus himself was tempted, after spending 40 days in the wilderness, yet He did not give in to the temptations. It is when we give in to the temptation that we commit sin, one step at a time.
No one ever starts out intending to be an adulterer, a thief, or a criminal. They get there by taking baby steps, then bigger steps, then running to the temptation. We don’t simply “fall” into sin; it is series of deliberate steps on our part; one step leads to another, and next thing we know,
we are stuck deeply in the pits of sin – and seem to have no clear idea of how we got there!
Instead of running to the temptation that causes us to sin, we should be running AWAY from it. Listen to the words of the apostle Paul.
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1 Timothy 6:11)
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
“Therefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Can you hear the urgency in the words? Always, he tells us to flee. Flee, run away quickly; run as fast and as far as you can. Don’t toy with the idea,
don’t justify it or make up excuses in your mind. Flee every temptation! Paul give us some very practical advice
that can and will nip temptation in the bud, before it causes us to sin.
Your particular temptation may be overwhelming to you, but I can assure you, you can indeed resist it by fleeing from it. Don't try to ignore it, or simply resist it in your own power, because you can't. It will get you sooner or later.
But it cannot get you if you turn your back on it and FLEE from it.
God never leaves us stuck, with no way to resist those temptations that we all face. God always makes a way.
There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)