Conception. Birth. Death.
These words provide a simple outline for the course of physical life. Our lives begin at conception, we proceed to birth, and then we grow, mature, and die. The New Testament writer, James, employed these concepts as a word picture to illustrate the path of desire and temptation.
His readers faced the difficult trial of being scattered (1:2). In addition, they also faced many temptations. James led them to understand temptation’s source. It does not come from God (1:13)—it comes from internal desires (1:14). But he also warned them about temptation’s course with this imagery of conception, birth, and death.
When desire lures and entices, the conditions are ripe for conception. This word literally means to become pregnant. If left unchecked, our pregnant desires eventually give birth to sinful behavior. What was once an internal unseen desire now gives birth to an external visible deed. And just like a newborn baby grows, develops, and matures, sin does the same. But the result is death.
Biblically speaking, death means separation. Scripture describes three types of death: spiritual (Genesis 2:17), physical (Genesis 5:5), and eternal (Romans 6:23). Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul from the presence of God. Eternal death is separation from God forever in a place of torment reserved for those who do not place their trust in him. James’ point is that unchecked temptation leads to sin, and sin leads to death—which will be eternal for those who do not know Christ.
Unreached people groups do not realize where the path of sin will lead them. The Japanese are the second largest unreached people group in the world. Cultural norms influenced by the spiritual heritage from their ancestors keep the people blinded to God’s truth.
Missionaries bear a difficult burden to share Christ with this hardened people group resistant to the gospel. As they share the truth of the gospel with the Japanese, we need to pray that these missionaries will stand firm in the midst of temptations in their own lives that would distract them from sharing the good news of Jesus.
“Father in heaven, please empower our missionaries to stand firm amid temptation. Keep sinful attitudes from growing in their hearts. Help them effectively share the truth of the gospel with those whose hearts are hardened. And please help me with those same things.”
Prayer requests for Japan:
- Pray that new team members would commit to go to the Japanese.
- Pray for the formation of a new team targeting the national capital region of Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto Prefecture.
- Pray for effective evangelism and discipleship among the Japanese.
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