But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.  [Jas 1:14-15 ESV]

DEATH—we have such a limited understanding of this term as it is used in the Scriptures. Of course, we have the same problem with the concept of “eternal life,” thinking it only refers to something after life on planet Earth.

Eternal life, which is not my focus here, has both a quantitative and qualitative aspect as revealed in the Word of God. “Death” falls into the same category, having both quality and quantity in its realm.

Death, as used in the Bible, refers not only to the cessation of physical life, but also to the abundance of negative things in life before one quits breathing.

You may be thinking, “Preacher, are you telling me that all this crap in my life is the result of sin?” Maybe. But, I CAN tell you this—“Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.”

[Pro 26:2 ESV]

Notice, then, the process that James lays out. 

First, there is desire. Second, desire conceived. Third, desire births sin. Fourth, sin grows up. Fifth, death is born.

Today, however, I am only going to address the aspect of desire.
Where does it come from?

Before I answer that, let’s ask a different question—

Have you ever heard of advertising?

Of course, you have.

You may have a knee-jerk reaction to the question within the context of this little article and say that advertising only plays to what is already within a person’s mind.

I won’t argue with you on that; but I will take it a step further and ask another question. Why do Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and other major name-brands continue to advertise when it is obvious that the whole world already knows of their existence?

Could it be that they understand HOW to create desire?
Consider this—

“A successful advertising message transcends the audience perceptions of needs and wants. It creates an emotional appeal that subtly convinces the audience that the item being promoted will make a difference in their lives by either making them happy, giving them status, satisfying a desire or providing security.”How Does Advertising Affect Wants & Needs? | Chron.com

It is simply a matter of vying for your attention amid the clamor of everything else also pushing itself at you.

Therefore, the point is to be able to gain access to your mind.

Here’s the rub—the Holy Spirit doesn’t do that.

That is why it is up to you to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” [Pro 4:23 ESV]

It is up to you to guard what goes into your mind. If the television or the radio is on, the advertising will find its way into your heart. It is THAT powerful.

People have told me for years that they don’t pay attention to the ads.
They know better. That is why they continue doing what they do, spending billions of dollars to promote their products.

What is the sum, then?

According to the Holy Spirit’s word through James, your temptations are a direct result of your desires.

You are the only one who has any control over your desires.

2 thoughts on “DECEIVED BY DESIRE

  1. This is timely. The temptation is not the sin, because we are all tempted, but it is the act towards the temptation that becomes sin. I hear a really good illustration, using alcoholism as an example: An alcoholic who truly does not want to drink anymore, will not keep alcohol in the house, because keeping it and kidding oneself they will not touch it is making provision for the temptation and the eventual and inevitable fall.

    Proverbs 4:23 was an excellent verse to insert in your post. To keep our heart with all vigilance we must remove anything that we know will tempt us; it is hard to feed the flesh when we are feasting on the Good fruits of the Spirit.

    And if I may add one more note, accountability is a good thing! What a blessing to confess and have another Believer stand with you.

    Good post!


  2. Thank you, Stacey.
    Your illustration about the alcoholic is perfect.
    “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom 13:14 ESV)


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