Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (ESV)
Have you ever considered that sin is a process? Rather than it being a spontaneous occurrence there is a sequence of events that leads to our sinful behavior. This tells us two things. One, the fault for falling into sin lies with us. It is not accidental. Secondly, it tells us that we do not have to sin. We can stop the process if we are aware of it. Let's look at the steps involved in sinful behavior.
Desire: Our culture that we live in is becoming a more hedonistic one by the day. Whatever fuels your desire must be innately good. James tells us something very different here. He tells us that it is our desires that when conceived give birth to sin. In other words, desires are the source of sin, not the source of anything good in us.
Sin: The word sin is something that many people have decided to simply not use any more. That word sounds too judgmental. They prefer words like "mistakes," or "unfortunate accidents." We need to be honest. Sin is a real word describing our violation of God's Law. Even the "slightest" sin breaks the sweet fellowship we long to have with God the Father. And if left unconfessed it gets worse.
Death: Sin, the result of uncontrolled desires, grows into something that brings death. Somehow people think that they can hang on to secret sins, not realizing that unconfessed sin is a cancer destroying them. How many relationships, families, and reputations have been destroyed by sin that has been allowed to grow.
This process of sin can be stopped. We have a responsibility to bring our desires into conformity with the Word of God. We can stop them from growing into agents of death in our lives. Look to the Savior to help you in your struggle with sin.
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