“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
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Verse 12 is one of the many “beatitudes” of the Bible. It may not seem like a “blessed” thing at all when we are stuck in the middle of a fiery ordeal, but if we endure to the end we will meet with God’s approval and “receive the crown of life.” Jesus warned about the dangers of a superficial faith in Luke 8:13: “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.” A strong faith that endures under trials requires deep roots.
James moves from external trials to internal temptations in verse 13. The easy thing to do is blame God for the temptations that beset us because He created us and does not insulate us from them. But, while God certainly does test us (Genesis 22:1), He never tempts us to do evil because no evil resides in Him and He has no desire for it. God actually equips us with the means to resist temptations by telling us to “flee” from them (2 Timothy 2:22), and by providing “a means of escape” when they arise (1 Corinthians 10:13).
James outlines the process by which temptations ensnare and destroy us. First, we allow ourselves to be “carried away” or “drawn away” from places of safety and security (verse 14). When we go places where sins allurements abound or place ourselves in situations that appeal to our weaknesses we set ourselves up for a hard fall. Like a fish we are drawn away from the safety of the brush by a shiny, sparkly lure with a deadly hook in it! Furthermore, we are “enticed by” our “own lust” so we have no one to blame but ourselves when we cave in to the temptation to sin!
When we flirt with temptation and court Satan’s desires for us, that unholy union implants the seeds of “lust” deeply within us (verse 15). There is a gestation period for lust and if we refuse to eradicate our evil desires they will continue to grow until they “give birth to sin.” Notice please that to lust is not necessarily to sin, but will inevitably lead to it if we continue to linger in the Devil’s bedroom.
Friend, here is the true and stark reality about sin: it offers no other outcome but to “bring forth death”!!! As physical death is the separation of our spirits from our bodies (James 2:26), spiritual death is the separation of our spirits from the God who created them (Isaiah 59:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-2)! The few moments of pleasure that lust and sin provide are not worth the lost eternity that will ensue because of them!
Of course you can be forgiven of your sins so all is not lost. If you gladly meet God on His terms you will be saved and restored. You must repent and be baptized to initially have your sins forgiven (Acts 2:3), and be saved (Mark 16:16). You must in “godly sorrow” repent of any sins you commit from that time forward (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Please read James 1:16-18 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
- Louie Taylor