Temptation Part 4: Source

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.–James 1:13

All week I’ve been discussing temptation. See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Nobody who sins can throw the blame on God. God may test us in order to strengthen our faith, but never with the intent of leading us to sin. The nature of God shows that He cannot be a source of temptation.

It is us, who falls into sin with temptation. James goes on to say in verse 14, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” We are the ones susceptible to Satan’s temptations because of our sinful nature and its evil desires. If evil desire is not resisted by the help of the Holy Spirit, it leads to sin and then to spiritual death.

It’s our heart that is evil. Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” God may use trials to build our spiritual character, but he always gives us a way out. We should remember that Jesus was tempted. Just because we’re tempted doesn’t mean we have to fail. I hate chocolate with a passion (yeah, I know I’m weird), and someone can try to pressure me to eat it, which is tempting me, but I have no desire for it. Now if you tried to pressure me with starbursts, that’s a different story. That would take some will power not to eat it. The temptation the devil uses is the same, if we don’t desire it, it’s easy for us to say we don’t want it, however, as it says in Matthew 15:19 our heart is evil and desires what we are tempted with.

When we look at temptation like the example with me and chocolate verses starbursts, it gives a different perspective on what temptation is and how we choose to reject it or fall into sin. We are the ones that make the decision, just like any decision we have. We must pray that God helps us cleanse out the evil desires in our heart so that we can reject the temptations we are faced with.

Temptation Part 2: Patience

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.–James 1:3

It seems odd to say that temptations leads to patience. Yesterday I discussed temptations. Temptations are difficult times or trials in our life that God uses. Paul says in Romans 5:3, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

So there has to be something there about difficult times leading to patience, if both James and Paul have said this. How do we respond when we go through trials? We want to fix it now. We don’t like going through them. We don’t want it fixed tomorrow, next week, next year. . . we want it to end now. When we go through these difficult times in our life we seek God more. By seeking God’s grace, instead of driving us to despair, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character. Proven character results in a mature hope in God (or patience) that will not disappoint.

God’s grace lets us look beyond our present problems in life and lets us have hope in God and a certain hope for the return of the Lord. So this is more a patience that we know that the Lord is good and he will take care of us. So often we want our problems to end now, but God’s time is not our time. In 2 Peter 3:8, it says “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. ”

When we go through trials, we need to pray that God will give us the perseverance to get through it. That He will show us the lesson he wants us to learn and that we will increase in our spiritual maturity.

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