"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." (NIV) James 1:13-15
Note the progression in this section of scripture: temptation, sin and then death. This is very important to understand in our lives. With that on our minds let's consider these verses:
Romans 6:15-18: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
These verses serve as both an encouragement and a warning. The warning comes for us when we consider how we are dealing with temptation in our lives. The Bible is very clear in the passage from James that if we allow the temptation to be in control it will become sin and if we continue in that behaviour, we eventually become slaves to the sin we serve; thus following a different master. Both verses make it clear that if we continue down this path it will lead to spiritual death.
James uses the imagery of our choices dragging us away from God which is a very scary thought but fortunately, there is a method we can use to avoid all this. James says temptation leads to sin and sin to death so the obvious solution is to break that progression when we realize we are been tempted.
As we live our lives many temptations will come on us as Satan tries to take us off course. It's no sin to be tempted but we need to be very aware of when it's happening and stop it in its tracks. Are you aware of temptation when it happens?