James 1:14-15 The Curse of 59 Cent Donuts

Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_cream_doughnut.jpg
Image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boston_cream_doughnut.jpg

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 

James in chapter one is writing to a group of Christians who are experiencing a test or trial from God.  He begins by encouraging them to rejoice because their suffering is developing greater Faith (1:2-4), God will give wisdom if they ask in Faith (1:5-8), and justice will come from the Lord (1:9-11). 

Following this encouragement James gives a warning about blaming God for the temptation or trial because God’s perfect, and cannot sin (1:13).  Then in 1:14-15 he sheds some light on the true source of our temptation….and it’s not pretty. 

  • Step One:  We are lured draw away from God’s path by our sin nature 
  • Step Two:  We are lied to by our sin nature-this usually involves questioning the goodness or love of God
  • Step Three:  Our actions create a habit of sinfulness 
  • Step Four:  Habitual sin ends in death (both physical and spiritual)

While James 1:15 shares the end result of our sinful actions, 1:14 to me is more dangerous because it shows how our rebellion begins using the words “drawn away” and “enticed.”

The words “drawn away” (lured in other translations) comes from the Greek word ἐξέλκω giving the idea of drawing or dragging something out.  James here is using the illustration of a fisherman dragging a fish out of the water with his line.  Enticed comes from the Greek word δελεάζω  which gives the idea of trapping something, or drawing it into a trap.  Obviously in the fishing illustration our sin nature puts out the “bait” that eventually draws us away from God’s path.

I absolutely love the illustration James gives here of fishing, but I’ve found one that illustrates my own struggle with a sin nature..it’s the curse of 59 cent donuts.

It goes something like this

  1. I am hungry so drive to the local grocery store or Walmart for a snack
  2. Knowing that I need to lose weight my plan is to eat a healthy fruit or vegetable…but then see the large display of 59 cent donuts right beside the fruit section editors note-I am using Walmart as an illustration here but you will find cheap junk food near the “healthy food” in pretty much any store
  3. I decide it won’t really hurt anything to go over and look at the kind of donuts they are selling (do you see how the donuts have drawn me away from the healthy food?)
  4. Of course after walking over to the donut case my mind immediately starts rationalizing things (Enticed)

Hey it’s just 59 cents!

Look at how expensive the healthy stuff is!

You know you did run three miles yesterday

And before you know it your mouth is devouring crème filled goodness 🙂

Now I could sue Walmart for selling cheap donuts beside the expensive healthy food but of course their response would be something along the lines of “well we didn’t make you buy it.”   Yes they made junk food incredibly tempting, but nobody MADE ME eat the donut…I did it all on my own.

Taking my donut illustration a step farther James is saying that Satan surrounds us with 59 cent donuts every day

  • A temptation to take the easy way out instead of obeying God
  • Choosing to be selfish and demand control in our relationship with others
  • Believing that God doesn’t love us because we don’t receive what we want
  • Closely related to this a belief that God isn’t fair

In the midst of these temptations Satan won’t ask us to completely reject God,  all he asks is we take a step in that direction (drawing us away from God’s path) because he knows we can’t resist what’s offered.

Just one step away from the apples towards the donuts

That’s all Satan needs

Because it’s not long after that moment of crème filled glory that we are reeled into the boat.

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