Unlike all other living creatures, man possesses the sole ability to walk after Godliness. Sinful man also is the only creature who purposely baits himself into temptation, and should find it as no surprise when he falls as a result.
James 1:14-15 gives us insight into the baiting process that is part of temptation. Temptation is not a sin. Christ was tempted “yet without sin.” But James is showing us that yielding to temptation is caused when one is “drawn away of his own lusts and enticed” (vs. 14). Man is drawn, as a fish or game animal. This graphic picture can best be seen in modern fishing or hunting techniques. The baiting of fish with a hooked worm or the use of a pile of apples to bait deer provides us with a way to visualize the deceitful actions of man upon himself.
The genealogy of wrong desire begins with lust. It then goes from conception, to birth, and finally to death. Sin in the believer’s life will render him ineffective for the Lord. The believer can overcome temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit. It takes the renewing of the mind and a change from what was once a path of temptation to a path of successful Christian living (I Cor 10:15; Eph 2:3, 4:23; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 1:15).
Written by Mike Williquette, Business Director of Baptist World Mission