“You look kind of somber this morning,” I said to Stan as I sat down. “What’s going on?”
“I was reading in James’ letter this morning,” Stan began, “the part where he is writing about being carried away by lust into sin, death, and the like. I was thinking about how that truth impacts so many people, as well as me.”
“Heavy subject,” I replied.
“Heavy, indeed,” Stan said. “But the good news is that there’s a pretty simple solution.”
“Simple?” I responded, “how so?”
“Do you know the best way for something not to happen?” Stan asked and then answered without giving me time, “Don’t do it!”
“Don’t do it?” I replied.
“Yeah,” Stan responded. “Abstinence works every time it’s tried. That applies to everything, whatever it is. If I don’t want to get a speeding ticket, the solution is real simple. If I don’t want to miss breakfast, same thing. Let’s order!” And he motioned to Ricky.
After Ricky took our orders for breakfast, Stan continued, “James was writing about me being carried away and enticed by lust. Once that happens, the lust gives birth to sin. And then when the sin is accomplished, death is the result. It may not be eternal death, but it can certainly be the death of my spiritual growth on this side of eternity.”
He then added, “Slow learner that I am, it took me way too long to accept what James wrote as being true. If I will choose to not be enticed by the world, the flesh, and the devil, there is no chance of lust turning into sin.”
“Yeah,” I responded, “I can see that, but it’s easier said than done.”
“I don’t disagree,” Stan replied, “it may not be easy, but don’t forget that with every temptation God provides the way out. I just have to choose to embrace His provision.”
“So the answer is making the right choice?” I asked. “Is that what you’re saying?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And I have to be told the same thing every day, often many times.”
“What same thing?” I asked.
“Just don’t do it!” Stan exclaimed. “Don’t start down that road. Abstain from lust. Don’t give it a chance to grow. Take the thoughts of lust captive to the obedience of Christ. Abstinence works every time. Give it a try. That’s what the Holy Spirit says to me all of the time. I just need to listen, obey, and choose to abstain. And remember, my friend, it is a choice.”
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has been conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:14, 15.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have the remedy for all of my lusts that can lead to sin and the death of my spiritual growth. I confess that too often I do not heed your word and your voice in telling me to do what works every time, which is simply to abstain from allowing lust to do what it wants to do in my life. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead away from falling into the trap that is laid for me by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Help me in choosing to abstain and to claim your every provision away from temptation. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Whether or not we will spend eternity in God’s presence is a choice. Have you made the choice to be with Him? If not, why? If not, do you know how to make that choice? Being enticed by lust that can and will lead to sin is also a choice. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? If you find yourself being enticed by the same lust over and over, do you know that God has the help you need if you will just ask Him?