Don’t Blame God For Tempting You
James 1:12-14 It’s YOU who wants you to do bad things, NOT God!
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”
James 1:12-14 NLT
When Barb and I write our daily Heaven On Wheels devotionals, finding an image that illustrates the verses being studied can be a challenge. Today’s theme is temptation, and a search of the pictures available on Unsplash (a wonderful source for free images) for that word centered on two things: sex and food. It’s not surprising that those two topics are associated with temptation; they’ve both led mankind astray since the beginning of time. Needless to say, images of scantily clad women didn’t make the cut, but I did succumb to the temptation of adding a picture of a luscious array of tempting baked goods…
These verses begin with James saying that those who endure temptation are blessed by God for enduring the testing and temptation, as they “will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” That does not mean that God is doing the tempting just to see if you pass muster; James immediately corrects that misconception by explaining that “He never tempts anyone else”.
We can also point the blame the other way, to the great enemy Satan. Even that finger pointing fixes blame on another party, when we really have nobody to blame except ourselves. James uses some strong imagery in verse 14 — I envisioned a man being enticed by a seductive woman, who then drags him away (willingly) to commit sin. It is our own desires that create temptation, not God or Satan.
How can we control our own desires? It sometimes seems impossible, which explains why so many people find themselves addicted to drugs or alcohol, stuff themselves with food that’s not good for them but oh-so-tasty, cheat on their spouses, and spend their way into debt.
James provides an answer in the form of the promised reward from God — “the crown of life to those who love him.” I’ll finish today’s devotional with words from David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary that also includes words from Charles Spurgeon:
To those who love Him: This describes the motive for resisting temptation, because of our love for God. The passions of sinful temptation can only really be overcome by a greater passion, and that is a passion for the honor and glory and relationship with God.
i. Some resist temptation because of the fear of man. The thief suddenly becomes honest when he sees a policeman. The man or woman controls their lusts because they couldn’t bear to be found out and thus embarrassed. Others resist the temptation to one sin because of the power of another sin. The greedy miser gives up partying because he doesn’t want to spend the money. But the best motive for resisting temptation is to love Him; to love Him with greater power and greater passion than your love for the sin.
ii. “So that those who endure temptation rightly, endure it because they love God. They say to themselves, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ They cannot fall into sin because it would grieve him who loves them so well, and whom they love with all their hearts.” (Spurgeon)
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, help me each day to love You more dearly so that I am able to better overcome my own desires. Fill my heart, soul and mind with a love for You that overpowers any temptation that may come my way. In Jesus’ Holy Name I pray, AMEN.