James 1:14-15 tells us that sin does not occur until we have decided to give in to our internal feelings. Think about that for a moment. If you want to be victorious over your flesh, you want to appreciate and examine what the eldest brother of the apostle John meant.
“….until we have decided to give in…..”
We usually think of sin as an outward behavior. However, behaviors are a mere expression or a result of the inner thoughts. The most important piece here is where the inception of sin occurs. It’s origin is in our inner thoughts.
I need to make a separation here between “inner thoughts” and “thoughts”. I am going to define “thoughts” as the ones we experience moment by moment. We have all kinds of them. Good, bad or neutral. We are thinking all the time.
“Inner thoughts” are our values. Those are the things that we believe are important in the way we live and work. If our values are aligned with to the Lords, then you will be strong and able to resist temptation.
Take for example a man who understood the importance of the Lord’s values for his life. He knows the Lord’s way is more satisfying and provides him deep joy. He may look at an attractive woman passing by and not sin. He may be angry at someone and not sin. Impressed?
At the other hand, take someone who still believes that what G’d has for us is just “the right thing to do” (but the real fun is at the other side) type of attitude. His values make him extremely fragile to his flesh. Simply because he believes his sinful action is “more interesting”. “It is not the right thing to do but it is more enjoyable”. So the next thing he experiences is the dwelling on that inner thought. That leads him to an inner emotion, and finally action. The latter may or may not be accomplished with the other person but he already sin.
Therefore, a person sins by dwelling on something that G’d has told us to avoid.
Why we “dwell” on them?
Deep inside, we are still looking back to the days we were slaves in the land of Pharaoh. “The onions of Egypt”. Remember the Hebrews led by Moses? They did not believe G’d had something better for them.
Regardless the type of problem someone may have (anger, alcohol, pornography, gossip or jealousy), what make them give in to sin is the lack of understanding there is a much better way. The way Elohim designed relationships, sex, work, etc is
James 1:14-15 tells us that sin does not occur until we have decided to give in to our internal thoughts. James reveals that sin does not occur when the thought or emotion first comes. Sin occurs when we give in to the thought by dwelling on it. One does not resist those thoughts because of their values (or inner thoughts).
Even those who learned this lesson and honestly desire what the Lord has for them, sometimes they give in to their flesh. That is how vulnerable we are. One tiny moment “dwelling on it” is enough to sin.
That is why spiritual intimacy and constant dependence of the Lord is vital for us day by day. He won’t give us a portion for the week. Neither for two days in a row. He will only give the portion for today. He is the one keeping your mind fresh with his values.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day”. 2 Corinthians 4:16
“And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds”, Ephesians 4:23