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But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (James 1:14)
James states but each one is tempted (πειράζω peirazō), which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. Again, from verse 1:13 above, the Greek verb peirazō has the sense of being put to the test to determine the nature of someone, including human imperfections, flaws, or other qualities. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God but instead, it is in oneself. James says that fleshly attraction is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the lure comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.
The Greek word James uses here for enticed is (δελεάζω deleazō), which means to become lured, enticed, entrapped with as with bait. James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all fleshly attractions spring from man’s desire [hunger] (ἐπιθυμία epithumia) to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his fallen desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of themselves are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not evil in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. Moses was inspired to tell us at Genesis 6:5; 8:21 that we fallen imperfect humans are mentally bent toward evil. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that we have a treacherous heart that cannot be fully known. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart, the more it lingers there without being dealt with, it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.
The Greek term for desire can be rendered as lust. However, that is not its primary sense. The basic definition is having an intense yearning for something that does not agree with God’s character. We might not be purposely looking to cater to our fleshly desires. Still, if we are in an innocent appearing situation that, in reality, is not so innocent, we can be carried away and enticed (ἐξελκόμενος καὶ δελεαζόμενος) by our desires. Temptation can come at a moment’s notice. James wants to wake us up to this fact and encourages us to look honestly at how imperfect human thoughts and desires work. As the hunger (desire) grows, the more it is fed with improper thoughts, tugging on us to act. Almost all our sins start as a wrong thought that we do not immediately dismiss and then pray for strength, followed by removing ourselves from the temptation. Instead, we tend to entertain the improper thought until it turns into a sinful act.