After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. James 1:15 (NIV)
James is using a picture here—desire conceives. The point about conception is that it is a hidden thing. Nobody knows when it actually happens, and it only becomes evident later on.
When the impulse to sin remains hidden, undetected, and unchallenged, sin will grow. James speaks about “sin, when it is full-grown” (1:15).
Sin grows, and once it takes root, it will gain strength in your life. Like a weed that has become established, it will become harder and harder to pull out.
When it is full-grown, sin “gives birth to death” (1:15). So, there are three steps to destruction: Sin hidden, sin growing, and sin bringing death. We do not want to go down this road. We want to follow the way of repentance—the hidden path to a transformed life.
We find that path when, instead of our sinful desires being hidden, they are revealed. How does God reveal the hidden sins of our hearts? God does his revealing work through his Word: “The unfolding of your words gives light” (Psa. 119:130).
That’s what happened to David. He was a believer, but he had been successful in hiding his sin, even from himself. God sent the prophet, Nathan, who told him a story about a rich man with many sheep who stole the only lamb a poor man owned.
David didn’t even recognize that the story was about him. He burned with anger, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die” (2 Sam. 12:5). Then Nathan said, “You are the man,” and God’s Word, through the prophet, showed David what was hidden in his heart.
When was the last time God revealed a sin in your life through his Word?