SAY NO TO TEMPTATION
James 1:13-14"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."
Humans are very fast to place blame. We shift our responsibility off on something or someone else easily. Long before pointing any fingers are due, a mirror should be consulted. God, the devil and others are always on the top of the list as possible scape goats for failing to rebuke our temptations.
While temptation certainly has a source with the devil and others, this verse makes clear who not to blame for temptations of evil and who is responsible - God is not and cannot be blamed for evil temptations, while humanity and their nature is the culprit.
Temptation is the courting or dating mechanism used by whatever is the source of the tempting, to position a believer or non-believer into a habitual lifestyle of disobedience to God. As sin is repeatedly visited, the feeding and growth of this sin will lead to death manifested - physically, mentally and/or spiritually. For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
Concerning this first part of the passage - "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil," - who could even imagine a successful attempt at temptation with the very essence and nature of God being Holy? Satan tried with Jesus in the wilderness but failed because of the Written Word of God being quoted against him by The Word of God in flesh. Christ defeated the enemy's temptations in this manner so that His followers would be able to use His Word likewise in similar situations.
Observing the next part of the passage - "nor does he tempt anyone;" - God cannot be a promoter of something His nature rejects. His nature rejects evil temptations and His Word thwarts any attempt as we have seen. God does not tempt us to go through an evil experience for the development of our faith. Later on in verse 17 of this same chapter James says to this, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
The fault of giving in to temptation and responsibility of owning up to it and staying away from it falls to us. The last part of this passage of study says, "but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."
First, temptation drags us away, dragging implying that of resistance, at least at first, then enticement once temptation gets us where it wants us. Temptation works in reverse of holiness - forsaking evil and cleaving to good. The heart is carried away cleaving to something evil and once alone or trapped then the enticing begins. Verse 15 describes the rest of the process - "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."
So, we have the opportunity to stop the growth process of our sinfully conceived or birthed temptations - "when it is full-grown". If we do not and our sinful habits continue until they consume us and/or they become "full-grown" then we must expect some sort of death in our life.
Some handles for us to consider in rejecting evil temptations on our faith walk are:
- Run from temptations. Surround yourself with the kind of people you know who are not going to place you in compromising situations. Have an awareness about your surroundings.
- Don't blame God, the devil or others all the time for your temptations, trials and sin. Look in the mirror. Do some soul searching. Consider the plank in your eye before removing the sawdust in your friend's, brother's or sister's eye (Matt. 7:3). Take responsibility.
- Confess before God, repent (change your mind to God's way of thinking), ask for forgiveness, constantly speak with the Holy Spirit so He can alert you to danger and do steps 1 and 2 if you have fallen into temptation and allowed it to grow and fester in your life.