13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. - James 1:13-15
We must recognize that the power of the enemy is strong, but the desires of the flesh are even more powerful. As a believer in Christ, you must learn to recognize and overcome temptation. If you don’t, James warns us that you’re on a path to death.
Overcoming temptation begins with recognizing where it all starts. Some believe God tests us through our temptations, but we learn here that is not the case. God does test our faith through trials to reveal our true hearts, but He does not tempt anyone into sin. He tests us to reveal where our hearts lack submission so that He can refine us and grow us. Because of the existence of Satan, and because sin dwells in our heart, every trial can lead us into temptation. But the temptation never comes from God, so we can never blame Him.
Some people get caught in the trap of believing God’s sovereignty over all of our circumstances includes our sin, or claim that God could have stopped me from sinning so it’s His fault. That’s a dangerous place to go in your thinking. We know that God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. He is holy and cannot look on wickedness, so He could not possibly have anything to do with the evil that exists in our hearts. If we are going to overcome temptation, we need to acknowledge it comes from with us.
James helps us to understand the source of temptation in these verses. He doesn’t tell us it comes from the enemy for he knows it would be far too easy to blame shift my sinful actions on something else. How many times have you heard someone exclaim, “The devil made me do it!” The enemy doesn’t make us do anything. Our own deceitful hearts make us do it.
James explains the origin of our sin is our own desires. It’s important to note that God created us with many desires in our heart that are not sinful in and of themselves - we desire food or sex, we desire to love and be loved - those desires are not sin. But it is those desires that can cause us to sin when we choose to fulfill them outside of the boundaries God has created for us.
When James mentions that we are lured and enticed by our own desires, he is referring to our emotions. We are so powerfully influenced by our emotions - they drive so many of our desires to completion. As a believer in Christ, we must learn to separate our feelings from our desires. We are not called to live by how we feel, but by faith and obedience, based on the Word of truth.
It’s also important to note that sin is not the initial thought. James explains here that it’s not the thought that brings forth death, it’s the pursuing of the thought, and the thought leading into action that is sin. We live in a broken world where sin runs rampant. Thoughts will come into our minds throughout the day that could lead to sin if we choose to dwell on them, or we allow those thoughts to spur us into action. This is why we are told in scripture to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Stopping temptation at its root will keep us from sinning, and ultimately save us from death.
So much to learn in these short verses, I could stay here for weeks. Forgive me, Father, for allowing my desires to entice me into sin.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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