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Bible verses about Desire as a Bridgehead to Sin
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 20:17

Even when coveting falls short of directly breaking another commandment, it can damage both persons and principles. When a person covets what is another's, even though he may not actually lift a hand to take it, he robs virtue of its real meaning and makes obedience a hollow, mechanical activity. Any wife who has caught her husband gazing lustfully on another woman knows what this means. It kills trust in the relationship. At such a point, lust is already destroying.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

Exodus 20:17

Covetousness is an insatiable desire for worldly gain and lies at the heart of where most sin originates. Of all the commandments, the tenth especially emphasizes man's relationship to man, which is readily seen in the repeated phrase "your neighbor's." It protects the interests of others in seven major areas listed individually within the commandment.

Martin G. Collins
The Tenth Commandment


 

Matthew 5:27-28

The person condemned by Jesus here deliberately uses his eyes to awaken and stimulate his lust. It is difficult enough to avoid lusting after natural things, but many things in this world are deliberately designed to awaken wrong desires. If certain books, pictures, magazines, movies, places, activities, or people tempt us to lust, we must avoid them, regardless of the cost. Not sinning is that important!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 

Matthew 11:18-19

What are the children of wisdom? Good works and good fruit. Whether what we do is wise or foolish is seen in the fruit we bear and in what we accomplish. An alcoholic produces sorrow for himself and his family, battered wives and children, poor health, and a shorter life. A glutton produces a bad example for his family and his brethren, poverty, poor health, and eventually death. We must control our desires because excess desire is the driving force behind gluttony. When we lose control of it, we sin, feeding the god that is in our belly, the god of excess, the god of too much, too fast, too eagerly.

Another interpretation of "wisdom is justified by her children" is that those who follow the wisdom from above recognize and live their lives based on truth. By their example in living wisely and righteously, they justify, prove, that it is the right and reasonable way to live. The way the wise live destroys the credibility of false accusations. Avoiding gluttony is one way to show that we are living in wisdom. The foolish—the opposite of the wise—tend toward gluttony.

Martin G. Collins
Gluttony: Sin of Lust and Greed (Part One)


 

Matthew 16:26

The individual Jesus describes in this illustration had a hunger to gain the world and all it could give him. But because he would not control that hunger, he lost his eternal life. How tragic, especially since the rewards God offers far exceed what this world can offer!

A wrong hunger is a corrupt craving that cries out for satisfaction. Whether our hungers are physical (for food, alcohol, drugs, sex, wealth) or mental (for position, control, power, vengeance), we must overcome or control them. Otherwise, the fruit of illicit desires is always destructive. The Bible records the stories of many men who allowed their hungers to consume them. It also faithfully reports the unfortunate consequences.

We could name many examples of uncontrolled hungers that produced disaster in the lives in which they raged: David's hunger for Bathsheba, Joab's hunger for position, Gehazi's greed for Naaman's gifts, Jezebel's lust for power, Simon's unnatural desire for the Holy Spirit, and Judas' betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver. All their hungers produced nothing but evil.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Do You Have 'the Hunger'?


 

Mark 4:19

A simple illustration helps understand this statement: A desire-driven "window shopping" for things to do in order to be "busy"—filling our time with meaningless, self-centered, carnal activities—crowds out God's Word. When we elect to do this, we risk many spiritual dangers.

When we covet carnal activities or material things, we serve them. If we give our time, energy, and money to them to the extent that we leave only the barest minimum of those things for God, we are practicing idolatry. It may reveal itself in us through a fear that, if we give ourselves to God, we will have nothing for ourselves. We live as if life in God cannot be full enough to make up for the loss of other things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment


 

Ephesians 4:26-27

Has Paul not said, "Do not give Satan an opportunity to get a bridgehead, a toehold, to induce us into sin"? Sin brings death, and that is Satan's aim—to bring about death.

In this context, not giving place to the Devil is directly tied to a feeling—anger. Anger of and by itself is not sin. There is an anger that is godly, which we call "righteous indignation." But nursing an anger for the wrong reason—the selfish fulfillment of a desire—gives Satan the toehold that he needs. He can easily turn it into bitterness or a sinful conduct.

Having a desire is not ungodly or a sin in itself. God gave us feelings, even ones we might consider to be somewhat negative. Even something like anger is not by itself sin. Life would be terrible and bland without feelings. What we have to understand is that these are areas that Satan, if we are not alert, vigilant, and on guard, can turn what is a blessing from God into a toehold or bridgehead to sin. We must be careful of this. When the emotions get worked up (even positive ones), we can be pushed in the wrong direction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 5)


 

James 1:14

Temptation is an appeal to think or do something contrary to God's law. We are drawn away from truth, virtue, and God's standard of righteousness.

In this context, desires are forces of attraction in the wrong direction: We long for it, crave it, covet it, want it. We are enticed or attracted when we are offered hope of reward or pleasure (e.g., food, drink, sex, money, drugs, entertainment).

The verbs "drawn away" and "enticed" derive from the activities of fishing and hunting. "Enticed" usually describes the drawing of fish out of their original retreat. We are tantalized, as fish are with bait. What is on the end of a fishing line? A LURE! James pictures man's desire first attracting his attention and persuading him to approach the forbidden thing, and second, luring him by means of bait to yield to the temptation.

Another analogy that illustrates the force of enticement is that of a magnet. If one places a small piece of iron close to a magnet, invisible forces reach out from the magnet to attract the iron. By moving the piece of iron a little closer, the attraction intensifies. Nudge the iron still closer, and the magnet will draw it all the way to itself. The closer one moves to a desired thing or the more one's interest grows, the greater and greater the pull becomes.

Who does the luring and enticing? Who does the tempting? Paul calls Satan "the Tempter" in I Thessalonians 3:5: "The tempter had tempted you." "Tempter" is the present participle of the Greek word peirazo, which basically means "to tempt." When preceded by an article, it literally means "the (one) tempting." Satan uses temptation to entice us into sin (Matthew 4:1). James 4:7 says, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Following Christ's example in Matthew 4:1-11, we should strongly resist the temptations of Satan, causing him to flee from us.

Martin G. Collins
How Does Temptation Relate to Sin?


 

James 4:1-3

This is vital because we find ourselves living in a culture that is coming apart at the seams because each individual wants to execute his desires. James tells us what happens when individuals begin to do this.

His basic question to the Christian is, "Are we going to submit to God or to our desires for pleasure?" Pleasure here does not mean "fun," as when one goes to an amusement park. James is talking about the desire that normally arises within an individual, who must make the choice of whether or not he is going to follow through and gratify himself by fulfilling that desire. So pleasure here means "that which gratifies."

He is saying to us that, if we seek our desires, then we had better understand that life will be filled with conflict. Why? Because everybody else is doing the same thing. Their desires are likely different from ours, and so our desires runs headlong into their desires, producing arguments, struggle, strife, and war over whose desire is going to be fulfilled. When people do what is right in their own eyes, rather than submit to the central authority, desires will crash into each other, creating conflict. It does not matter whether that central authority is the family, the culture, or God's Word!

This is happening constantly, but God has a solution. It is not easy. The solution is that each son of God bears the responsibility to govern himself, by faith, within the framework of His laws, His principles, His traditions, and the examples that He gives in His Word. We have to submit to these things.

John 8:32 declares that the truth sets us free, but it will never set anyone free unless it is submitted to. Truth is good only as it is used, so a person must submit to it. Inevitably, differences will arise on what things should be done or how they should be done. But God has a way of resolving these problems if we will submit and not succumb to impatience—if we do not force our will and thus force conflict.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 

 




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