The Anatomy of Temptation
Today’s reading: Joshua 7:1-9:27
My selection: Joshua 7:20-21
20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
My reflections: The despicable Achan, to his credit, immediately confessed his sin once it was discovered. He also gave us a helpful analysis of the steps to his sin. He said “I have sinned” and “this is what I did”.
1. I saw
2. I coveted
3. I took
4. I hid
It is striking that he could not enjoy the cloak, the silver, and the gold. He had to hide them. As is always true, his sin did not give the enjoyment it promised. In the end it cost lives, including that of Achan and his clan. The best place to stop sin is at the earliest stage- the seeing or the coveting. James 1:12-15 promises the crown of life to those who are steadfast in trials.
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
My challenge: How can you cut off potential sin by stopping it at the seeing or coveting stage? How have you experienced the emptiness of indulging in sin? How does this experience of emptiness help you resist temptation? How does the promise of the crown of life help propel you toward steadfastness in temptation?
Today there will be temptation. Be steadfast.
Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 10:1-12:24