Tuesday, June 12, 2007

James 1:12

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him."

I've often heard people equate temptation with sin. As if just being tempted to do something wrong is a sin in and of itself. This couldn't be farther from the truth! The Bible tells us that we will all be tempted. Even Jesus was tempted, but we know that He never gave in to sin.

The truth of the matter is, we only recognize temptation for what it is when we are on the right path. An unrepentant habitual liar is never tempted to lie. They just do it. They don't need to be tempted to lie because lying is what comes naturally to them. Only when we are struggling against sin do we truly feel the weight of temptation. When that same habitual liar decides to turn themselves around and try to speak only truth, they begin to feel the temptation to lie, but with prayer and grace they can overcome it.

Temptation is also often a tool of the enemy. When he sees that we are doing something for God or we're trying to improve our walk, Satan delights in frustrating our efforts. He will throw temptation after temptation in our path to try to distract us. He simply wants us to turn our eyes away from Christ and pay attention to more worldly concerns. These are the times when it is most important that we continue to focus on God. If we reach out to Him in prayer, He will help us through anything the enemy may drop in our path.

Notice that in the above verse from James, we are not called to destroy, defeat, or remove the temptation, but rather to endure it. The longer we endure temptation without giving in, the less power it can hold over us. Unless we are capable of controlling every aspect of our lives (and none of us are), we can't effectively remove temptation altogether. We may be able to clean all the sweets out of the refrigerator at home, but eventually someone is going to bring donuts to work to share or invite us to dinner where they are serving lavish desserts. Of course, this doesn't mean we should seek out temptations. Instead, we should spend our efforts in prayer, asking God to strengthen us against such attacks. Only with the strength that He has to give us can we be prepared for future struggles.

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