A what point does sin take root in a person? Examples: I get cut off in traffic and immediately I get upset but refuse to think negatively about the other driver. Or I see a very pretty girl and think about my carnal days and what I would do then but stop and refuse to go any further. Or I see a beer commercial and again think about the old days and getting buzzed but stop and turn the channel. These things come at me all day long and honestly as the day wears on and I get tired I have a tendency to think a little more but again I stop. Do I need to repent as soon as the thought crosses my mind?
I believe James 1:14-15 tells us that as soon as we entertain the thought it becomes sin. The enemy plants all kinds of evil thoughts in our minds. It’s not until we accept these thoughts and allow them to influence us that they become sin. Once we detect the thought, we follow Paul’s instructions in 2 Cor. 10:5 and take the thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.
The enemy will try to cause division and strife in our relationships by suggesting thoughts to us that can lead to bitterness or jealousy, for example. At that moment I can take that thought captive and forgive this friend, avoiding all issues the enemy was trying to create.
A desire to commit whatever sin we’re being confronted by, we’ve begun sinning, even if we have no intention of following through. The desire itself is a sin.
But to repent means to change our mind. If we already know something is a sin we’ve already repented, because there was a time when we didn’t think of it that way. In that case, all that’s left to do is confess and be forgiven (1 John 1:9).
By the way, it’s not a sin to have a beer. It’s a sin to habitually drink to excess. The only people who shouldn’t have the first beer are the people who can’t stop until they’re drunk.