Lured and Trapped

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Have you ever gone fishing?

My siblings and I used to stand at the edge of my uncle’s pond and push worms onto the end of our hooks. Then, we’d cast that invisible fishing line out into the water, and wait. Underneath the water, the satisfying meal would lure a hungry fish away from his safe home and into our dangerous territory.

James, the brother of Jesus, explains the process of temptation in a similar fashion. He says, “…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:14, ESV). The word lure means to “draw out” like when a fish is lured out from safety when he sees a worm floating across the water. The word enticed, like the word “to entrap,” could mean “to catch by bait.”

Temptation draws each of us out and entraps us with our own desires. We all have desires and many of these desires are not wrong or bad. Temptation starts with a desire within us, and a distraction outside of us. Distractions float across our paths and if we fail to see the camouflaged hook, our desires will rise up, and lure us out of safety and into a trap. When distractions pique our interests, we can allow our desires to overcome us and when this happens, we have been caught by bait.

James goes on to explain the result of temptation by saying, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15).

Once lured out of safety and into a trap, our desires grow. They become pregnant and give birth to sin. Sin is anything we think, do, or say that is against God and His ways. As sin grows, it then gives birth to death. Francis Chan, a pastor/teacher, suggests this imagery describes giving birth to a still-born child. A pregnant woman experiences an exciting time as her stomach continues to grow and the anticipation of promise, joy, and love increases. When the time finally comes for life to be born –there is only death. The child born is dead.

In life, when we become distracted and entrapped, our desires grow and we begin to choose to do things we never thought we would. We begin to compromise, choosing to go against God’s ways. We hope with each compromise, it’ll be worth it, but it will never be worth it. Sin always leads to death.

Our choices in this life bring on a range of physical consequences. Some consequences could cause physical death but in this particular passage, James wants us to think about spiritual death. When we are lured away, entrapped by our own desires, and choose to go against God, we are choosing the opposite of life. God alone gives spiritual life. We can experience spiritual vitality only through His son, Jesus Christ. Truly, a satisfying life can only be found by believing Jesus personally and choosing to follow Him with our lives.

 

Chan, Francis. “When Sin Looks More Enjoyable Than God.” Cornerstone Community Church. Simi Valley. 26 Oct. 2006. Online video sermon. YouTube. Web. 13 May 2016.

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