I have been doing a Bible study with two friends. We are studying through the book of James, which happens to be one of my favorite books of the Bible. After three weeks, we are not even halfway through the first chapter! God's word is so full of good stuff!
As I was working through the lesson for this week, I was struck by an observation that was made regarding James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. The observation had to do with temptations and bait.
I happen to love language. I love diving into sentence structure, grammar, and original languages. I think we can get so much more when we dig down deep, analyze what is being said, and then apply it to our lives in a specific way. God's word can come alive for us and we can grow if we spend the time.
So the first thing I did was check out my new interlinear concordance that my daughter Nathalie got for me. The words that are translated "drawn away" and "enticed" are somewhat similar and have the idea of being "hooked" or "lured". Enticed even has the added connotation of being caught with bait.
At first glance, you could look at that verse and believe that we are to expect being tempted to be part of our lives. BUT! See the comma after the word tempted? The next phrase clarifies when we can expect to be tempted: "when he is drawn away of his lust..." "Drawn away" is passive in this sentence, and unless you remember way back to English class in the fifth grade, that means nothing to you. So let me explain... No. There is too much, let me sum up: Someone (or something) else is doing the drawing away. In this case, our own lusts are doing the drawing.
Likewise the word "enticed" is a past participle which comes at the end of the sentence after a comma. This means that "enticed" is referring to the man who is tempted. So in essence, our own wrong desires are baiting us, trapping us, and luring us away toward temptation. We are setting ourselves up for failure when we desire those things which are not of God!
So all of that to say that we get ourselves into trouble with temptations when we allow ourselves to be caught up in our fleshly desires. We fail to see the hook because all we see is the bait. Just as Eve did in the Garden. She focused on the thought that the fruit was good for eating and yet failed to remember that God had told them NOT to eat it!
The thought that occurred to me: We don't see the hook and as a result we fail to see the consequence until it is too late. We're already trapped, lured, and drawn away as soon as we chomp down! It seems the application is one of awareness of our thoughts. What are we thinking on, desiring, wishing for, and yearning towards? We need to be sure our desires are in line with God's will for us. In doing that we will avoid the hook completely and the consequences! 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ!