“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).
As a fishing hook, the temptation is to hold deadly delusions and tricks beneath its beautiful look and facade. Jesus pointed out their destructive intent when he called the devil “the father of lies” who “comes only to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 8;44). Temptations are destructive lies wrapped in fascinating packages. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they make promises that are not true. The romantic affair that promises excitement delivers regret and heartache. The satisfaction from indulging in destructive cravings is short-lived, but the pain can last a lifetime (Hebrews 11:25). Once we cross a line, it is more challenging to be away the next time we are tempted. It is a lie that we will get relieved if we only yield to our lusts, but it is nothing more than another link in the chain that sin uses to control us (John 8:34). We want to be free from sin and not under its bondage. The Gospel calls temptations “deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22). They masquerade as our longings. But the new nature given to every true believer wants to please God, not to grieve the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30). Perceiving the deception of temptation can help us win our battles with it.