Read 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."
What are the steps of temptation and where can they lead us?
Whether or not we are willing to admit it, a majority of us are "living on the Titanic." We're one iceberg away from disaster: financial hardships, illness, broken relationships, losing a loved one, a temptation that could plunge our world into turmoil. Are we spiritually ready? Are we learning to trust the one, true God who will see us through the troubles ahead--or are we clinging to a false sense of security?
Addictive processes are at work in each one of us. If you think you're immune to struggles with, say, pornography or alcohol, guess again. Here's what expert Gerald G. May, M.D., has observed: "I am not being flippant when I say that all of us suffer from addiction. Nor am I reducing the meaning of addiction. I mean in all truth that the psychological, neurological, and spiritual dynamics of full-fledged addiction are actively at work in every human being. The same processes that are responsible for addiction to alcohol and narcotics are also responsible for addiction to ideas, work, relationships, power, moods, fantasies, and an endless variety of other things. We are all addicts in every sense of the word. . . . Yet, in still another paradox, our addictions can lead us to a deep appreciation of grace. They can bring us to our knees."
Temptation entices all of our hearts. You, me--every person on this planet--is in the midst of a battle between good and evil. It's being waged day after day, hour by hour. It's easy to wonder if there are two people living inside each of our bodies--sort of a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." While we yearn to be free of sin, to be close to God and to grow spiritually, we find ourselves being pulled toward darkness. And just when we think we've mastered a struggle, another one pops up. In all honesty, the holier we strive to be, the more aware we become of the battle--especially our self-seeking, mixed-up dark sides. How can we escape it? Accept God's grace, which brings us to our knees.
Lord Jesus, help me to seek you when temptation hits. Amen.
Gerald G. May, M.D., Addiction and Grace(San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1988), pp. 3-4.