Today we start the book of James! – This is what God gave me today:
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 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. (James 1:13-15)
Sin is a sort of creäture. It starts out as a baby, a little voice in your head saying that that other voice (your conscience) doesn’t really know what it’s saying. It starts as a seemingly small desire. A simple want of something. If I just think about murder, it’s alright. It’s not like anyone can read my thoughts. Slowly, that simple, small desire grows. Not noticeably at first, perhaps, into actually thinking about committing the action. Planning how you might do it. That in turn grows into actually committing the action; the desire has now grown into sin. Sin, by the way, is a one way ticket that doesn’t lead up; it leads to death. That small feeling, the tiny other voice in your head, as lead to your Spiritual demise. There is still hope afterwards (his name is Jesus), but you’ll always have the scar.
“But it’s so small a want! I hardly ever even think about it, sure maybe lately I’ve started thinking a bit more about it, but so what? I can get rid of it anytime I want or need to! Not that I would ever need to, seeing as it’s not a problem.”
This a story by C.S. Lewis that I believe fits (it’s about the need to have the desire removed by Jesus. Rather than as we learned, have it grow into an actual action):
I saw coming towards us a Ghost who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. “Shut up, I tell you!” he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then he turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains.
“Off so soon?” said a voice.
The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the morning sun at the beginning of a tyrannous summer day.
“Yes, I’m off,” said the Ghost. “Thanks for all your hospitality. But it’s no good, you see. I told this little chap,” (here he indicated the lizard), “that he’d have to be quiet if he came – which he insisted on doing. Of course his stuff won’t do here: I realize that. But he won’t stop. I shall just have to go home
“Would you like me to make him quiet?” said the flaming Spirit – an angel, as I now understood.
“Of course I would,” said the Ghost.
“Then I will kill him,” said the Angel, taking a step forward.
“Oh – ah – look out! You’re burning me. Keep away,” said the Ghost retreating.
“Don’t you want him killed?” said the Angel.
“You didn’t say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with something so drastic as that.”
“It’s the only way,” said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the lizard. “Shall I kill it?”
“Well, that’s a further question. I’m quite open to consider it, but it’s a new point, isn’t it? I mean, for the moment I was only thinking about silencing it…” said the Ghost.
“May I kill it?” asked the Angel.
“Well, there’s time to discuss that later” said the Ghost.
“There is no time. May I kill it?”
Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please – really – don’t bother. Look! It’s gone to sleep of its own accord. I’m sure it will be all right now. Thanks ever so much.”
“May I kill it?”
“Honestly, I don’t think there’s the slightest necessity for that. I’m sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it.” said the Ghost.
“The gradual process is of no use at all.”
“Don’t you think so? Well, I’ll think over what you’ve said very carefully. I honestly will. In fact I’d let you kill it now, but as a matter of fact I’m not feeling frightfully well today. It would be silly to do it now. I’d need to be in good health for the operation. Some other day, perhaps.”
“There is no other day. All days are present now.”
“Get back! You’re burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You’d kill me if you did.”
“It is not so.”
“Why, you’re hurting me now.”
“I never said it wouldn’t hurt you. I said it wouldn’t kill you”…
The Angel’s hands were almost closed on the Lizard, but not quite. Then the Lizard began chattering to the Ghost so loud that even I could hear what it was saying.
“Be careful,” it said. “He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you’ll be without me forever and ever. It’s not natural. How could you live? You’d only be a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn’t understand. He’s only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn’t for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren’t they better than nothing? And I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll give you nothing but really nice dreams – all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent…”
“Have I your permission?” asked the Angel to the Ghost.
“I know it will kill me.”
“It won’t. But supposing it did?” asked the Angel
“You’re right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature.”
“Then I may?”
“…Go on can’t you! Get it over. Do what you like,” bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, “God help me. God help me.”
Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed on the turf.
By: C.S. Lewis
The desire to sin needs to die, there’s no alternative to it! If it isn’t killed, we will continue to make excuses for it (trying to rationalize it) until it grows into something much bigger. Say, for example, that the ghost had let the lizard live; it would have grown into a dragon. Our sinful-desires, which we still have since we still live in a, “earthly tent” may not be like a tangible, kill-able lizard, but none-the-less, we need someone (Jesus, in our case) to kill it for us. Sooner’s better than later.
Our defense against such desires is prayer, the armor of God and the knowledge that Jesus has already won the battle. Snake’s, after their head has been cut off, still continue to writhe for a while longer. Jesus has in essence, decapitated sin in our lives. It still squirms and writhes, but remember that the war is already won.
You are Loved!