A Course on Temptation
Lord, I desire an eye for beauty, an ear for truth, and a heart that hungers for You. Grow them in me, I pray.
Read James 1:12-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“O for a heart to praise my God, a heart from sin set free, a heart that always feels thy blood so freely shed for me” (Charles Wesley, 1707-88).
When we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” the question is asked: does God lead us into temptation? The answer is given here clearly: no, God does not bring us into temptation; he does not tempt anyone, because he would never want to make us sin (13). That would be contrary to his character. The cause for our sinning lies within us. The sequence is: evil desire, temptation, sin, death (14,15). This is “natural” because of our fallen nature, but it does not have to be so, if we are redeemed. We can overcome our evil desires and choose not to sin through the victorious power God gives us through his Son and Spirit.
The root word in Greek for “temptation” and “trial” is the same. “Temptation” seduces one to sin through sinful desire (and evil deception). “Trial” means being tempted under fire to give up one’s faith or commitment to God. Such trials come from Satan who may throw flaming arrows at us to discourage and make us fall. The passage promises that if those who are tempted through trials would persevere, they would be blessed. The process is: trial, temptation, faithful perseverance, crown of life (12). There are, therefore, two outcomes when we are tempted or suffer trials: one leads to death, the other to eternal life. What makes the difference is our love for God (12), for if we love God we will want to obey him (John 14:15).
The power to overcome temptation and sin comes from the heavenly Father who “chose to give us birth through the word of truth” that we may bear fruits of obedience and faithfulness that would bring him glory and praise (18). God fortifies us to crucify the sinful self and its desires, and overcome Satan’s arrows.
Whether you are experiencing an inward battle or difficult external circumstances, pray for God’s help and claim the victory that God gives by persevering in love.
Lord Jesus, You won the victory over sin through Your death and resurrection. Help me to realize that truth in my life and to walk daily in that victory.
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