We often think that sin has something that has power over us, but that simply isn’t true. We give power to sin by compounding bad habits and letting temptations into our lives.
The alignment of our will with our thoughts, feelings, and social relationships can seem like a long way off and a long time coming. Thus many of us have developed coping skills to save us from ourselves in the meantime. Changing our situation and circumstances through coping skills is sometimes a good stopgap, a short-term strategy to stay out of sin. But mere coping does not go nearly deep enough. Coping does not get to the level of temptation that is rooted in desire.
We tend to locate temptation in the purring voice on the other end of a phone call. In reality the only voice with power to move us to sin is the voice of desire within: the voice calling us to indulge what we think, feel, or observe. It is a wicked voice.
To be tempted means there is within us a preexisting desire or bent to consent. When that is the case, we are like a cheetah lying in wait for a passing gazelle. When we are living with disordered desires, we are placed and poised in a ready position to pounce on temptation as soon as it presents itself; we may even feel helpless in the face of temptation and believe that we can do nothing different. “Like the cheetah,” we say, “there is nothing we can do about our deep human instincts to hunt for sources that fulfill our desires.”
But that does not have to be the final verdict. We need to know these hopeful and grounding truths: Our sinful thoughts do not have to, automatically, lead to sinful acts. We do not have to pile up sinful acts that then become sinful habits. We do not have to live with sinful habits that in turn misshape our character.
BRING IT TO LIFE:
Immersing yourself in God’s Word and permitting his Spirit to guide you will give you the power to identify temptation and overcome sin.
Taken from NIV Bible for Men