"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin," (Heb 4:15).
Have you ever taken the time when reading a familiar verse like this to slow down long enough to marvel and to learn? I am convicted that many times I read so fast I am not opening my heart and mind to the Spirit's work. From a passage like this, He pricked my mind to wonder, "what is the relationship between weakness, temptation, and sin?". What follows is a bit raw, but I hope both candid and helpful. Men, this one is aimed at us. Women, if you read it, please pray about how to help your husbands and/or Christian men fight temptation.
From a good discussion with a group of men at a burger joint searching Scriptures like James 1:13-15, 1 John 2:15-16, and Proverbs 4:23 came the following:
Weakness is the frailty of humanity or mortality - having bodies that naturally get tired, hungry, or want sex, having financial limitations or limited minds, and having limited perspective and time.
Temptation is the attractiveness to a choice that displeases God. It is the lure or enticement or appeal to our natural desires to persuade us to choose serving ourselves rather than following God and His law.
Sin is any choice or nature (in thought, word or deed) that displeases God.
So, by analogy if we were fish in a pond, things like our gills, our need for food, the limitations of our pond and fish bodies would be weaknesses. When a fisherman casts a line into the pond, the bait on the hook is the temptation. Then, when we focus on the bait the thoughts and the biting is the sin.
Getting personal we talked about watching the Superbowl and the temptation to look at commercials like the Victoria Secret ad. Our weakness as men is having bodies that crave sex. The ad on the TV is the temptation. The choice to look, stare, and think about women other than our wives in a sexual way is the sin.
Praise God we have a Savior who knows what this is like. Jesus was a man, and so he craved sex and had other weaknesses. In his day he was faced with versions of the Victoria Secret ad to tempt him. But, he never stared. He never gave in to the temptation to let his mind mentally undress a woman. He never sinned. This brings hope because it means we can fight against sin through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and win! He tells us, "come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need," (Heb 4:16).