Anatomy of Temptation

Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15

James gives us some keen insight into how temptation works. The words may sound very religious, but don't let that throw you off. One way to think of "their own evil desire" is to think back to how we've been talking about the false self and the shadow self. The false self is that part of us that we think is good or presentable, and so we exaggerate it to make people like us more or to get more things done or to feel in control. The shadow self is that part of ourselves that we think of as bad and we try to hide that from others.

What James is pointing out is that both the false self and the shadow self originate from 'evil desire' to be something other than the beloved children God says we are. We get 'enticed' by the desire to look better than we are and to hide our weakness, but once we've started down that path it's so easy to build an entire identity on our false self. That's just another way of saying 'sin.' 

And we all know that those masks end up isolating us from God and from others and even from ourselves. They end in relational and spiritual (and sometimes physical) death, just like James says. 

So now that you've looked under the hood at how temptation works, what's a way you could move through this day facing temptation differently than you have before? Talk with God about that.