James memorization, Week #6: James 1.13-15
“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.”
I love fly fishing. There is nothing else like it, and once you’ve experienced the joy, other kinds of fishing fail to compare. In a way, it involves what some would label a primal urge to seek out prey – to stalk, to lure within reach, and to finally succeed in capturing the prey.
With fly fishing, this is accomplished by tying feathers and threads and other things to a hook in such a way that it appears like a delicious little bug in the eyes of the fish. Making the fly “dance” upon the water, or appear to “swim” through the water only makes it appear more lifelike. And…the more lifelike, the greater the likelihood that the fish will be attracted to the fly.
Fly fishing plays upon the fish’s innate need to feed (and noticing the feeding patterns will help the fisherman!). By placing an apparent bug before the fish and making it appear lifelike, the fish’s natural tendency to eat can be triggered. The picture above is of a fish that had just snatched up the fly from my line.
James uses this picture to illustrate the sinful tendencies of human beings. In the same way that the fish’s natural tendency to eat causes him to go after a fly that is really a hook, we have natural tendencies to go after that which appears enticing but in reality is sinful. And…just like the fly before the fish, it may look quite innocent to us. At that point, it is merely an enticement. But, if (and, unfortunately, it is often “when”) we give in to the enticement, it is because we have given in to our sinful desire. We can’t blame God for that, nor can we even blame the devil; it is our own turning to sin.
The greatest problem, though, is that sin is not an end in itself. Left unhindered, it brings death. For the fish, the enticement of the fly may lead to a frying pan. In the picture below, you can see that this fish is in danger of just such a thing, and it still has the fly in its mouth (and yes, I do use barbless hooks!). The cause of its enticement is still evident.
I returned this one to the water to live and eat again. In a similar way, God does not instantly condemn us when we sin. Thankfully, He is faithful and just to forgive us when we sin! But James’ warning is good – sin left unfettered is dangerous. Be on watch for the desires of the flesh that lead to sin. What often looks enticing may bring death…