A temptation is a solicitation to do wrong. It comes from a desire to perform something that we know is against God’s expectation of us. Understanding how we go from a temptation to sin is important to comprehend in order to stop the process by taking the way of escape before we work out the desire from the temptation. In the book of James, we find the process by which we are solicited and how that temptation works out to sin.
Let no one say when tempted, “I am being tempted from God”. For the God is without temptation of wrong and He tempts no one. But each one is tempted by his own strong desire while being drawn out and baited. Then the strong desire after being conceived, births sin. And the sin, when it is finished, brings forth death – James 1:13-15.
We are first presented with a strong desire to do wrong by one of our three enemies: the sin nature, Satan, or the world system. This temptation has no impact on us until we accept the desire as our own and then choose to perform it. Conception is the combination of a wrong desire and the determination to do it. This is a trespass and always happens within the mind, resulting in a person being in a state of unrighteousness, although sin has not yet happened. Conception does not guarantee birth, but unless it is interrupted it will always result in sin. Once a temptation has become a desire within us that we have determined to fulfill, if we do not apply the truth, the faith, or reject what the world wants, this determination will work out to sin when we perform the desire.
Temptation starts with a solicitation to do wrong. When we are first presented with a desire, we can choose to reject or accept it; therefore, thinking a bad thought is not sin or unrighteousness. However, if we accept the desire as our own and determine to do it, then we have trespassed within our minds which will result in the temptation being worked out, producing sin.
When it comes to dealing with bad desires within our minds, our first step is to identify where the desire is coming from, for each of our enemies works in a different way. The sin nature, that part of us that wants to work out wrong, temps us with specific desires, where Satan has his own methods and has developed the world system to use the desires from the flesh, eyes, and pride of biological life to manipulate us into doing his will. For the sin nature, we need to apply the truth (Romans 6:4-13). For Satan, we must use the faith, which is the armor from God (Ephesians 6:10-18). For the world system, we recognize that in Christ we are dead to it, for although we are in it, we are not part of it, Galatians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 7:31.