But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Temptation is not a sin, but what if you continually place yourself in temptation’s path? Is that a sin?
According to James 1:14, the human heart is prone to be “carried away and enticed” by his own lust. One can hardly avoid the illustration of a fisherman’s bait here. If he were to cast only a hook into the water, chances are that it would be a while before any fish decided to take a bite out of it. On the other hand, a fish that spots a hurt cricket or worm floating in the water will be enticed and carried away more quickly. This, most assuredly, will lead to a swift and final death for our poor fish.
Fortunately for you and I, we are both much smarter than the average fish. Why then, do we continually place ourselves within the vicinity of temptations such as popularity, gossip, sexual impurity, and the like?
Notice the first part of our verse again. “One is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” If you know you have a problem, a specific lust, do all that is within your power to stay out of situations that tempt you in that manner. If you were a fish, and your friends were continually being jerked out of the water while eating under the pier in your pond, it might be a good idea not to venture near the pier while looking for dinner. In the same manner, if the temptation to drink is greater at parties or with certain individuals, the logical and obedient thing to do is be to stop hanging out with those individuals.
One will always be tempted when he allows himself to be carried away and enticed by his lusts. And we all know that our lust, our secret desire for something, will eventually result in sin. James 1:14 teaches us that this sin is the cause of death. It will kill friendships, futures, and most importantly, it will kill our ability to be in constant communion with God. Does this mean that we are no longer on our way to heaven? No, but heaven is not our goal. Our goal is to become more sanctified with every day that passes. This will never be possible if you continually cut off your communication with God.
It is not a sin to be tempted by the devil; Christ was tempted on several occasions. Sin is the result of giving into those temptations… temptations that we could altogether avoid if we would just stay away from the pier while feeding.