What is the difference between temptation and sin?

(Henry Wright) Nothing is forcing me to go there. I make the choice. I make the decision. I can have every thought raging on the inside, and I’m still in temptation. I have a teaching called the Seven Steps to Sin out of the book of James. Temptation is not sin. I mean I can have rage, I can have fear, I can have rejection, I can have all this stuff just screaming at me on the inside. My body can shake, but until I’ve allowed that to execute itself through me, I’m just being tempted. People don’t realize they have all these thoughts and all these feelings.

In temptation, people are so isolated in their thinking that they take it as though they actually sinned because they have no way to say, “I’m having this temptation”. I’ll go to Henry and say, “I was just having all these thoughts. I was already feeling guilty as if I had sinned” so he can say, “Oh, that’s just temptation.”

(Interviewer) But Scripture says — If you think something in your heart, so you are.

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Proverbs 23:7 KJV

In Matthew, it says if you so much as, in your heart, look on a woman to lust after her, you’ve committed adultery.

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:28 KJV

(Henry Wright) There are two sides to this. A man can see a female and have temptation, but in this case the man had already performed the act in his heart. He wasn’t just being tempted. He had gone into lust. He had joined himself to lust,  and he was lusting after her in his heart. That’s different. Sometimes that scripture is used incorrectly. If that were the case, then every thought we have is evil.

(Donna Wright) So let’s just use this example. If a man looks on a woman, and he’s tempted, which means he looks and thinks, “Oh, no, can’t go there”. Compare it to when he looks on her and thinks, “I would really like to go there.” There’s a difference. “Oh, I would really like to go there, and I come into agreement with that thought.” “I really would like to go there” as opposed to looking and thinking, “No, I don’t want to go there”.

(Henry Wright) In David’s case, he wasn’t being tempted anymore. He went for it, and he set things in motion.

The same thing happens in lesser issues. If someone rejects me, I have a decision to make as to whether I’m going to repay evil with evil, or evil with good. I can have every temptation of rejection, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness myself because it’s there trying to gain access to me. Then I have to make a decision. That’s why Jesus said at the cross — Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luke 23:34 KJV

They didn’t understand that their thoughts weren’t their own. Jesus said to Peter, when Peter was debating with Jesus about going to the cross — Get behind me Satan. Thou savorest the things of men not the things of God.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Matthew 16:23 KJV

Jesus was saying to Peter, “Your thought didn’t have its origin with you. It had its origin with a kingdom that’s giving you these thoughts to debate with me.” This opens up a powerful insight to the origin of thought and where it’s coming from. So in this battleground I may have a thought, and if I don’t know correct spiritual things at this level, I’m just going to follow it like it was me. I’m going to fall right into it. Then I’m going to follow it right through, and here we go again. Some people say, “It’s just the way I am. This is just the way we are”.

Unrighteous thinking could have come through generational things. It’s called iniquity. The iniquity of our forefathers is the kingdom of Ephesians 6 — principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness in high places and the rulers of darkness of this world.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12 KJV

David said — Behold, I was shapen in iniquity.

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalms 51:5 KJV

In Nehemiah 9:1-3, the children of the captivity confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. 2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 KJV

Now, let me lay a heavy one on you. The flesh, the Adamic nature, and the old man are actually the kingdom of Ephesians 6 by its fallen nature that is tempting us, ruling us, and making our thoughts the same as if they were our own. We call that negative emotions, but it didn’t have its origin with us. Remember the garden?

Who told you you were naked? And so, here we are. We just fell into this stuff, and then when we get busted, we just say, “Oh that’s just the way I am. That’s just a negative emotion. That’s just a psychological defect.” Maybe you don’t need counseling. Maybe instead you need to know your enemy and get rid of him.

The word says — Choose this day what you shall have…life or death, blessings or cursings. Choose… choice.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV

People say, ‘Well, I could just blame the devil for everything.” Then you won’t let people take responsibility. As a pastor looking at people worldwide, I will tell you to forget about the devil. Not many people are taking responsibility for anything, whether it’s the devil or not.

Original Source: Be In Health Global, Henry W. Wright, Donna Wright. It’s a New Day Interview with Henry W. Wright and Donna Wright: 2004.
DVD Course Material. Pleasant Valley Church, GA, 2006. Print.