For the first twelve verses of James’ letter his focus is on trials. For the next six verses he shifts to the related topic of temptation…
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. (James 1:13)
Why do you think James wrote about trials and temptations in the same chapter? It’s because often they go hand-in-hand. They are like two sides of the same coin. Think of it this way:
Trials happen on the outside. They are tests allowed by God. Temptations happen on the inside, and they are sent by Satan.
Trials on the outside can lead to temptations on the inside. Here’s how it works: God allows a trial to come into our life to give us an opportunity to grow, but then Satan comes along and offers us another way out of the trial.
James wants to make it clear that while God may test us, He will never, ever tempt us! Satan is the one who tempts us, because he wants us to fail God’s test.
So what is temptation? It can be the enticement to do something bad (like steal, swear, fight, or gossip), but it can also be the enticement to do something good in a bad way (like cheating to pass a test).
God allows a trial to teach us something and build our character. Then in the middle of the trial Satan comes along and says, I can help. Don’t try to solve your problem God’s way – that takes too long. Take this shortcut I’m offering you, and your trial will be over. We take the shortcut because we think it’s the best choice, but our troubles get worse and we miss another opportunity to grow.
Over the next few days we will study what James says about temptation. For now what you need to know is that God may test you, but He will never tempt you. In fact, if you are a believer with Jesus’ Holy Spirit living in you, He promises to give you the strength you need to resist the temptation if you are willing to accept it.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So the bottom line is that we should never blame God for our temptation. It is Satan's fault when it comes, and it is our fault when we give in to it.
Today’s Good News is that if you are a believer, God has given you the power to resist temptation. You just need to be willing to plug into that power.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.