When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:13-15).

Four very significant words are used in this well-known section of James:

1. "Desire." The term used here means "a strong desire of any kind." The word is used here in a negative sense and is the usual word translated "lust" in other places (Matthew 5:28, Mark 4:19). The root word is also used for good desires as the desire to be an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1), the desire to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23) and Paul's desire to see the saints (1 Thessalonians 2:17). I can have a strong desire to sin, but also I can have a strong desire to please God. The key is the choice I will make, and what desire I will choose to fulfill.

2. "Dragged Away." Negative desires can drag us away. To a first century disciple, this word meant "draw away, or lure forth." It is not a violent dragging, but rather an internal drawing based on evil desires within our minds and hearts. It is significant that Jesus used this same root word in two other texts: John 6:44 says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me DRAWS him, and I will raise him up at the last day." In John 12:32 Jesus says, "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will DRAW all men to myself." On one hand, we are drawn by our inner lusts and evil desires, yet similarly both the Father and the Son draw us to them. The choice is ours to which we will heed.

3. "Enticed." Evil desires within us entice us. The word "enticed" comes from a verb that means "to bait." A fish is enticed by a worm at the end of a fishing pole, but when it bites, it suffers the consequences of biting into the hook. Our evil desires bait us with temporary pleasure. We need to rely on the wisdom and understanding in God's word (Colossians 1:9), to see the spiritual consequences of the hook beforehand, to avoid making harmful choices.

4. "Birth." The consequences of our decisions can give "birth to death." Throughout the New Testament this word means to "bring forth," but here in James 1:15 it's used in a metaphorical sense. This "birth" is in contrast to James 1:18 where God "chose to give us BIRTH through the word of truth." The same word for "birth" in the original is found in both places. Again, God lays before us two paths, one leads to death and the other to Him and life.

God gives us choices. The choices we make can result in spiritual death or in greater intimacy with God.
-Dan Demshar