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. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. – James 1:13-15
Do you recognize temptation when it presents itself? If so, do you have a plan to avoid the temptation or do you more often yield to the desire? I think that most of us would admit that we want to defeat temptation, but how? Pastor Stephen Cole wrote that if we want to win the war against temptation, it is critical that we “recognize the source, the force and the course” of temptation. Today we’ll consider the first two in the list.
First, as James makes clear, God is not the source of temptation. The person that says “God made me this way or that, so I am not to blame” is just shifting the focus away from the real source of temptation – me. Somewhere inside of me are desires that will ultimately destroy my life, and recognizing the danger is the first step in consistently overcoming temptation.
Second, we need to recognize the force or impact of the temptation. Have you ever witnessed another person in a runaway self-destructive mode and they are totally oblivious to what they’re doing? We’re often blinded by our own areas of vulnerability, wouldn’t you agree? So, what “lures and entices” me (you)? Is it a click of the computer mouse, an occasional flirt with a coworker or neighbor, the “white” lie needed to be successful in the office… of course this is not an exhaustive list at all.
At the end of the day, we can lean on this fact – we do not have to give in to temptation.
Paul wrote that “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).
But what if we give in? What is the end result? Let’s look at that aspect tomorrow.