James – Wednesday, March 11
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
One of the errors that common among believers in dealing with temptation is the error of thinking that it’s a sin to be tempted, and that God is somehow distant from me or angry with me when I’m being tempted.
On the contrary: it is not a sin to be tempted, and God is not angry at me when I’m being tempted. Jesus was tempted (without sinning), and obviously God was not angry at Him! Neither is He angry with the believer when tempted. Temptation is a reality we all face, living in a fallen world. It’s not sinful in and of itself.
If I believe that it is a sin to be tempted, I’ll believe that I’ve already sinned before I even did anything wrong! I’ll think that God is separated from me in the process of temptation, and therefore I’ll think that I’m on my own in fighting the temptation. Where then will I go for power and strength to resist the temptation? This thinking will certainly lead to failure in my struggle against sin.
The very One I need the most is with me as I’m tempted, not against me.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. Think of the last time you were tempted to sin; where was God in the midst of that temptation? What was your concept of God at the time?
2. How would it have been different for you if you had recognized that God is for you, and is with you, during that particular struggle?
3. Consider a temptation you’re experiencing right now. Write a paragraph to yourself, telling yourself how recognizing God’s presence with you will help you and give you victory. Be as specific as you can.