“13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” James 1:13-18 NIV
As we journey with James through trials and dealing with a real life faith, James points out in 1:13-18 that while God may test our faith, He does NOT tempt us to sin. Temptation may be allowed by God in order to strengthen our faith, but it does NOT come from God. James knew that when they faced intense trials, the early church would struggle with blaming or questioning God. God allows temptations. Satan comes with temptations.
Two thousand years later, we still wrestle with the same issue. When we face our challenging seasons, we wonder…”Why would God tempt me like that? If He loves, me, how could He make me fall into this sin?” James takes the time to remind us that if we are tempted to sin or turn away from God, it is not a temptation we have received from Him.
It’s not God who brings porn to you. It is not God who puts alcohol or drugs in front of you. It is not God who makes you get angry at your spouse. It is not God who is to blame for your irritating co-worker. God does not tempt us. Temptation rather comes from our own evil desires. Don’t blame God when you sin. Don’t blame God when you are tempted. God allows our trials so that we have an opportunity to grow deeper and stronger in our faith. While this may not sound like good news, there is a blessing we can receive about temptations found in 1 Corinthians.
“13 The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NCV
As Christ followers, we can claim victory over the temptations we face.
We need to trust God’s character through our challenges. It is not God’s intentions that we fail. It is not God’s intentions that we are overwhelmed and depressed. Trust God’s character. I know life is hard. Trust God’s character. I know there are times we don’t understand why things are the way they are, but trust God’s character through it all.
We need to take ownership of our choices. Too often we try to pray ourselves out of situations we behaved ourselves into. Take ownership of the choices you make – whether good or bad. When you recognize the bad choices you have made, cry out to God for strength to make better choices then step out and take action.
We need to find our hope in Jesus Christ. James called the early church to a life of faith in action. He had little tolerance for people who felt they just needed to have an intellectual agreement with Jesus and think they were saved. He knew that if someone had a genuine faith in Christ, their actions would surely be transformed. We need to be transformed because we find our hope in Christ. We can overcome temptations in Christ. We can overcome challenges with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Thank You Jesus that You give supernatural empowerment to overcome any temptations I may face. Thank You that I can trust You character more than I dread my problems. Thank You that I can find my hope in You. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray…amen.