We live in a world where everywhere we turn, our passions and desires are being enticed. It happens so often we may not even notice it much of the time. Think about all the billboards you see, or don’t see, along the road. Or think about all the signs in the windows of the stores you pass on your way to work or to your favorite restaurant. Then there are all those commercials on TV. In fact, my guess is that our senses are assaulted to the point where we often don’t even notice that we are being enticed.
Besides living in a world full of temptations, we also live in a wonderful Christian community. We see fellow church members and members of other churches everywhere we go. We confess our sins every Sunday, we hear great teaching, we go to inspiring meetings and Bible studies. But if we aren’t careful, these can blunt and even mute our own relationship with God. And when we combine the temptations all around us and our church context, we can end up drifting. And drifting leads to crashing.
James tells us that we are being tempted when our desires are enticed. He adds that we sin when we act on those desires, either going after what we shouldn’t or not going after what we should. Consequently, we need to remind ourselves, often, or we need to be reminded, often, that we are being tempted to sin—to rebel, revolt, to drift from the presence of the Lord.
But knowing, or being reminded, that we are being tempted is only part of the solution. The rest of the solution is to do what the Psalmist said, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:9–11).
It is good to know that our desires are being assaulted, but it’s even better to seek the Lord’s face with our whole heart, to spend the kind of time in the Bible that we can say, “we hide his word in our heart,” and on top of all that we constantly and consistently pray that God would not let us wander from his presence. Then we can face the onslaught with confidence and even humor, laughing at Satan’s puny attempts to make us stumble.
This reminds us of our need to confess our sins.