“Sin’s Siren Song”
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave it to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).”
Khadiza Sultana was a bright student, living in East London, with aspirations of attending medical school. One morning she told her mother she was off to school, but Khadiza never came home. Was she kidnapped or had she fallen into the hands of some evil doer? The family didn’t know what had become of her until they saw her on the news, boarding a plane for Turkey with two of her friends. Like more than 500 other young Western girls, Khadiza had been radicalized by ISIS recruiters and had set off to Syria.1 She went because she wanted to go.
Investigators have found that the Islamic State is making a determined play for these girls and directing their tactics to their vulnerabilities using “girl to girl recruitment strategies. The teen runaways have now been joined in polygamist wedlock to jihadists so that they may propagate sons to fight for the Caliphate. If her family had only seen Khadiza’s social media activity they would have uncovered the remote unseen forces preying on her.
The big question, in Britain, and elsewhere, is how can this be happening? The disappearance and naturalization of young Western teens to ISIS is emblematic of how all of us are drawn away into sin and captivity to a foreign fighting force bent on the destruction of the realm of our birthplace (John 3:5, Philippians 3:20). The devil doesn’t abduct us against our will and drag us off to his dark domain. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed (James 1:14).” It is we who allow ourselves to be drawn away by our desires.
Desires in and of themselves are not necessarily a bad thing. If we were never hungry we would starve. Without feeling tired and desiring rest we would wear out quickly. Without sexual urges there would not be future generations. But acting in such a way to fulfill our natural desires out of the will of God is sinful.
The enemy uses our desires to deceive us into fulfilling them sinfully. Temptation doesn’t usually appear as temptation; it always seems more alluring than it really is. James 1:14 uses two illustrations to make this point. The phrase “drawn away” is the idea of being dragged by a baited hook. The bait, or improper fulfillment of a desire, conceals the hook which pierces the prey. The word for “enticement” carries the picture of baiting a camouflaged trap. The animal fixes on the easy meal and misses the dangerous snare ready to snap shut and seal his fate. The end result is death (James 1:15, Romans 6:23).
Solomon painted the picture of a foolish young man enticed by a married seductress. “With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduces him. Immediately he went after her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks. Till an arrow struck his liver, as a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life (Proverbs 7:21-23).” What a graphic picture of how the deceitful fulfillment of one’s own desires produces sin which results in death.
Unless our spiritual eyes are open and searching we will not see the hook before Satan has set it firmly. Unless we exercise discernment (Philippians 1:9-10, Hebrews 5:14), we will be blind to the traps he has carefully placed to ensnare us (1 Corinthians 2:14). Peter warned that we must remain sober and alert because our enemy is stalking (1 Peter 5:8). If we are not regularly hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17) we will certainly be listening to the siren song of sin luring us closer to destruction (1 Timothy 1:19).
Next week we will continue to examine the danger that sin poses for even the righteous.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).”