“Resist the devil” (James 4:7)
Temptation is very powerful. I’m not talking about being tempted to eat that piece of chocolate cake when you’re dieting. Or buying that sweater that cost more than you can really afford. I’m talking about hard core temptation to sin. It can be the act of committing a sin. Or the act of disobeying the leading of God’s Spirit. Or in this day we live in, sin can be condoning something we know is contrary to scripture.
So why do we sin, anyway? Well, according to the original sin in the garden it is because sin looks “good, pleasing, and desirable.” (Genesis 3:6). Sin always has a hook in it that appeals to something within us. So, in this week’s blog I want us to focus not on the sin we are tempted to commit, but on the source the temptation comes from.
You and I have an enemy. Our enemy is God’s enemy. We know him as Satan, the Devil, the Adversary, the Accuser. But in the Hebrew his real name is called Baal-zebub or Baal-sebul. Baal means “lord” or “master” and “baal-ebul” bluntly means dung. What could possibly be a more derogatory name than that? That tells us that every time you and I give into sin, whether an act of sin or condoning sin in anyway, we are yielding to the Master of the Dung. Pretty gross, isn’t it?
So how do we overcome this strong magnet to sin? James 4:7 tells us to “submit ourselves to God.” God hates sin, and the more you and I submit ourselves to God and the things he loves, the more we will also hate sin. And the more we hate sin, the less we will be ensnared by it. Because the enemy is the lord of the dung heap, all his ways are a dung heap. We can never respect sin of any kind. We cannot see sin as having any pleasure, thrill, or joy. We must view it as something filthy and disgusting – dung!
The real problem with Eve in the garden was that she was focused on the fruit she was tempted with and not the master of the dung who was tempting her. May we not make the same mistake as Eve did.