The Greek word “peirasmos” used in James 1:12 and translated “trial” is the noun format of the verb “peirazo”, used in James 1:13 and translated “tempted”. Both verses are therefore talking about the same thing.
James 1:12-15 is a lesson on the mechanics of sin and death. James 1:15 links the progression from desire to sin and then to death. It would appear to be prudent then to prevent the progression from commencing if we seriously want to avoid the inevitable conclusion. This places the focus on “desire”.
In my book, “You’ve Got All it takes to Succeed”, I present a mini treatise on desire which I will quote in a moment. But more important is what we can learn from the Bible itself. The Greek word used in James 1:14 and James 1:15 is “epithumea”, and is best translated “lust”. You will note that in verse 14, the word “evil” is attached in the NIV, and other translations, but is not included in verse 15. And yet there is no discernable difference in the rendition of the two words in the Greek. That begs at least one question. Is “epithumea”, properly translated “lust”, inherently evil? For the answer, consider some other passages where the same word is used – Mark 4:19; John 8:44; Romans 1:24; Romans 6:12; Romans 7:7; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:3 Colossians 3:5; All of the foregoing characterize lust (epithumea) as being evil and for good reason. Usually the word is used along with another word, such as lust of the flesh, or of the world, or of something else that is inherently wrong. James 1:14-15 are two cases in point. Clearly, anything, which when conceived, results in death, must be inherently evil. But the question remains, is lust inherently wrong?
For the answer let us consider three Scriptures in which the identical Greek word is used. In 1 Thessalonians 2:17, Paul talks about his intense longing to see the Thessalonian brothers and sisters. In other words, Paul lusted to visit the Church at Thessalonica. Clearly that was good, and yet the Greek word used is “epithumea”, and the English word is “lust”. Look at Philippians 1:23. Paul desired to depart and be with Jesus. Again the Greek word used is “epithumea”, and the English translation can be lust. The next one may be a shocker. In Luke 22:15, Jesus Himself says, I have eagerly desired to eat the Passover with you. Again the word used is the same Greek word “epithumea” and can be translated “lust”. The only rational conclusion therefore is that lust in itself is a strong, overwhelming desire, and is in itself, neither good nor bad. What makes all the difference is the object of our lust. Christian women would do well to discover ways and techniques to entice their husbands to lust for them, and vice versa.
Here is a quote lifted from my book – “You’ve Got All it Takes to Succeed”: –
“To desire something is not merely to want it. To desire something is not merely to wish you had it. To desire something is not merely to like the idea of having that thing. To desire something is to become totally and completely obsessed with the thought of having that thing to the point that you are convinced that it is attainable, and to the point that you believe that you will attain it, and as a result, you consciously and sub-consciously unleash all your mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual faculties and resources in the relentless pursuit of the materialization of the object of your desire.
Desire therefore is not a passive word. Desire is not a feeble expression of interest. Rather, desire is the starting point of all achievement, and the one ingredient without which our lives will forever be marred by the morass of mediocrity.”
Desire is lust in all its power. Instead of yielding to the desires of our Devil-influenced corrupted flesh, could we by the Holy Spirit, direct the power of our desire and lust at praising God, building His Kingdom on earth, and pleasing Him in every way?
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