Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:13-15 KJV
By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, James shows us in the aforementioned scripture that the process of committing sin is the same as the process of giving birth to a child in the natural. He also shows us clearly that the source of temptation isn’t God but lust in the heart. He then goes further to write about the deceptive process of committing sin, saying that everyone is drawn away by their “own lust”. Lust in a person’s heart is the start of a pregnancy, and sin is the baby that comes out of that pregnancy. Death is the end result of committing sin.
What is lust? It is any desire you have that is not consistent with the will of God for you at any given time in your life and in your walk with God.
This suggests that every man’s lust is idiosyncratic and peculiar to him. In order for God to test and see where your loyalty lies in the process of temptation, He gives a gestation period (which is pregnancy from conception to the day of delivery). This is in order to see if you truly love Him, and test if you’re truly loyal to Him. This is because at any time you change your mind from following through with the process to its final stage, the lust (pregnancy) that’s about to give birth to sin experiences a miscarriage or is miscarried, thereby aborting the process. However, if you follow the process to its logical conclusion, it is because you truly desired to commit that sin and satisfy the lust in your heart.
Most people in church think that lust is only expressed in the sexual arena, but this isn’t true. A person can also have a lust for power, food, fame, money, recognition, position, etc. For instance, having sexual desires is a God-given desire that He allows you to explore only in the context of a marriage relationship. However, if you explore this desire outside that context, it is lust that is driving you to sin. When you desire a position of leadership or want to get wealth and be rich, it isn’t wrong, but when you go outside of what the scriptures permit, the Holy Spirit allows, God’s will, or what is allowed by law in order to achieve this, it is a lust you have got to deal with because it will eventually become your undoing (James 4:1-3).
James 4:1-3 KJV: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Note: Any area of your life where you’re being tested the most, that is the area where you have the most lust.
Just like different living things have different gestation periods, the same is also true in the process of temptation and the committing of sin. Depending on the gravity of the sin a person is about to commit, God gives a longer gestation period to see where the loyalty of the believer lies. For instance, the gestation period for dogs is 63 days, while it is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days for pigs, which is approximately 114 days. Human beings have a gestation period of 9 months, while elephants take 2 years. For instance, if an individual is about to commit an elephant proportion kind of sin, God gives him a two-year gestation period to test where his heart is. If he carries the pregnancy to term and delivers the baby, he’s got himself to blame and hold accountable, and not God, Satan, or anyone else but the lust in his heart.
Nothing that isn’t enticing to you will ever tempt you. And the end product of sin is always death.
The good news is that God, in His Omniscience, has put in place a reward system that He will unveil at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He will give “the crown of life” as an eternal reward to everyone who overcomes temptation, and proves that he loves God more than momentary and temporary lustful pleasures (2 Corinthians 5:10, James 1:12).
2 Corinthians 5:10 (AMPLIFIED) For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].
James 1:12 (KJV): Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
The aforementioned scripture, James 1:12 , shows clearly that saying no to lust and temptations in your life is proof of your love for God. And the ultimate proof of your love for God is seen in obedience and sacrifice (John 14:15, 23-24, 1 John 4:9–10).
John 14:15, 23-24 (KJV)
If ye love me, keep my commandments. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
1 John 4:9-10 (NIV) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
So make up your mind and ask for God’s grace to say no to lust and overcome temptations in your life, and prove to Him that you truly love Him more than the fleeting pleasures of sin.