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. — James 1:13-15
I once heard a story about a father who asked his son to cut several boards to make a wooden fence while he (the father) put the posts in place. The son measured the first board with a tape measure and cut it. To save time, he put the second board against the first, drew a line, and made the cut. He put the third board against the second…and so on. When he was finished, the last board was a few inches shorter than the first and did not fit correctly between the fence posts. His father explained that the son, without realizing it, had drawn each mark slightly off the one before it. If he had used a tape measure, he would have made identical marks.
By now, you have identified things that have slowly crept onto your plate, things that fill you but leave you unfulfilled. You have repented for letting those things get too big. In some cases, you want them out of your life. Things like bitterness, self-pity, and apathy do not serve any good purpose and only hurt and isolate. In other cases, you are thinking through how much of something should be in your life. Technology is wonderful but too much can be a distraction. Promotions are great, but do you only feel successful if you compulsively climb the corporate ladder?
James explains how sin works its way into our lives. Rarely do we dive in head-first. It is deceptive. Sin tempts us to take a closer look. “Wow, that looks good. One bite won’t hurt.” Then before we know it, it becomes a meal. It begins as a thought, a look, a “maybe just a nibble,” and progresses from there.
No one will ever be completely free of sin this side of heaven. But today, think through things you can do to catch sins more quickly.
To Think/Pray About Today
What safeguards will you put in place to help you see the sin creeping in so it does not make it on the plate? If it is not a sin but something that can become a distraction, what can you do to make sure only the appropriate amount makes it on the plate?
Prayer Focus: Cutting Edge of Cedarville