Friday, January 27, 2006
Where Sin Gets Defeated
When I was a kid, which I usually also add, "it wasn't so long ago," a comedian named Flip Wilson made famous the phrase, "The Devil made me do it." The Devil maybe had something to do with it, but we know he didn't make us, because sin originates in our own lusts. "[E]very man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (James 1:14). Sin starts with a desire that we have in our flesh in which dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:16). From there it moves to the realm of enticement. Where are we enticed? Answer: In our minds. Our desires in our flesh interact with our mind, our mind send messages to our flesh, and these two have a relationship. The next verse of James 1 says then that lust "conceive[s], and bringeth forth sin" (v. 15). After finishing the sequence of sin, James commands, "Do not err, my beloved brethren" (v. 16).
James 1:16 states how sin gets defeated. You ask, "It does? Do not err? How does that say anything?" An expanded understanding of "do not err" is "Stop being deceived." James commands believers to stop being deceived because deception takes place in the mind. That deception is called enticement in v. 14. The sequence is like the worm on a fishing hook. The fish sees the worm and thinks it's supper, but it's actually a hook. The fish is deceived in its little mind. The mind is the place where sin gets defeated. To do so, we must train our minds to discern the bait, the counterfeit. We do that by feeding it with God's Truth. Scripture is replete with this very truth, that renewing our mind with the Word of God is the basis of keeping from sin (Psalm 119:9,11; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8; Romans 12:2). When our mind is filled up with the Truth, it will stop sin from conceiving. Enticement ends when our mind tells us that we are dealing with a counterfeit. It's not a worm; it's really a hook. In a sense, all of us need to prohibit conception--the conception of sin in the mind--by training our mind to think Biblical thoughts.