Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15 (NIV)
We have been looking at the inside story of the Christian life. You have new life because you are in Christ, and you have new battles because you are in the body.
We are going to turn our focus now to what this battle looks like. James describes five stages in the life of sin.
1. Sin begins with evil desire (1:14)
The desire pulls at your soul. It entices you.
2. Evil desire conceives (1:15)
It gains the consent of the will, and when that happens…
3. Sin is born (1:15)
Sin has its own life, so no sin is an end in itself.
4. Sin grows (1:15)
And if it is not cut back, sin will keep growing until, in the end…
5. Sin produces death (1:15)
There’s a well-known line in the story of Samson. He was seduced by Delilah, who was deceiving him, and then when he was asleep, she shouted “Samson, the Philistines are upon you” (Judg. 16:12). The problem for us is that our enemy, sin, is not only upon us, it is also within us.
There are two enemies outside of us—“the world” and “the devil.” But our focus here is on the treason within—sometimes called “the flesh.”
Think about a particular sin that you have committed. Which of the five stages of sin can you identify?