..each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed; then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Someone I know recently went through a long, tiring, and very hurtful divorce. I know from my own experience that this process had a beginning.
I wouldn't imagine the average person is even aware that they are "courting" their thoughts. The date begins with one thought, luring with some sort of appeal to gain entrance into the mind. It can be a pleasant thought, or it can even be a destructive thought.
I played my part in the destruction of two marriages by "cheating" on my husbands. These affairs did not just happen; they came about when rapt attention was paid to a wrong thought. Both times, the initial stage of adultery began with simple remembrance of something flirtatious somebody said to me: "You sure are pretty; I certainly would like to spend some time with you. Maybe we could have a drink sometime".
"What? This cannot happen, I am married to someone I love!". I did not focus on this fact, however; instead, drawn in by attraction to my pride, I began to rehearse the alluring thought of this man's suggestion. I began to repeat the words of seduction over and over in my head....I began to entertain the idea suggested.
This romantic banter would ultimately be followed by a decision: "Do I?", or "Don't I?" [W W J D?..What would Jesus do? I had not met Him yet, so I never even contemplated that question. Jesus' high standard of morality would never have considered a thought against the fidelity of marriage]
Even though I knew it was not appropriate, the initial compliment to my looks enticed. The majority of humanity is driven toward approval of their outward looks, and positive acknowledgment of such by someone else, is often reveled in.
So I focused on the flattery, and let it dominate my morality, "What would it really hurt to just go out for a drink, or two?".
If "no" had been chosen immediately, the courtship with my thoughts would have ended, and the affair with the men would have never begun. Instead, my thoughts played until a crescendo was reached....the invitation was accepted, and the demise of a relationship began.
For me, these dates opened up a scenario I had not intended. The consequence of a night on the town with another man (prompted by wrong thinking) eventually became death of a union, in the form of divorce.