When a Christian falls into gross immorality, the question arises: What came first: the desire to sin or the opportunity?

From what I’ve seen and heard of fallen pastors it’s almost always the desire to sin that comes first. It’s not that they were walking closely with the Lord, keeping their hearts and minds holy, mortifying their lusts, etc., and suddenly an opportunity for sex just came out of nowhere and they fell into it almost “accidentally.” In fact, I’ve never heard of such a scenario.

No, instead the man has allowed his imagination to stray, he’s begun to entertain fantasies about certain women, he’s comparing his wife unfavorably with then, and he’s maybe even started saying and doing certain things to attract them.

When that desire to sin is allowed to fester, it’s almost guaranteed that the devil will arrange for some opportunity to arise that the man is already primed for. The desire he has entertained has made him highly flammable and it only takes a small spark of opportunity for his whole life to go up in flames (and many others in his and her family with him).

The critical lesson is that if we crucify the desire, God will almost always shield us from the opportunity. And even if God may permit the devil to throw a spark of opportunity our way, there’s nothing in the heart that will easily catch fire.

However, if we entertain and enjoy the desire to sin, God may permit the opportunity to sin to coincide. Look around you, the church is full of the charred remains of such catastrophic infernos.