“12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:12-21 NIV
Dear Heavenly Father – Envelope us in your goodness that we might understand the larger picture of our world. Please open our understanding and help us stand in your grace. – Amen
I’m blessed – I have had many trials, therefore, I am blessed. Wait? Did I persevere?? Did I successfully navigate through those trials? Some I did. Many times though I failed – trusting in my own means to get me through.
All my life I have been fiercely independent – such a sin yet in our age independent individuals are often praised. God wants us God-dependent and not independent. Not a popular idea in the year 2020. But truth none the less. It is this very independence that causes the trials in the realm of temptation. As we see in 14 – we are dragged away by our ‘own evil desires and enticed’!
I get so sad when I hear people say, God gave me this trial or that bad situation – time to take some ownership!!! Or what about when they say – satan tempted me. Please! The prince of darkness has better things to do than to play with you! YOU DID IT! Take some ownership so we can seek repentance and move on!!!
I fear I may draw some temptation for some people reading while explaining this and verse 15 in simpler terms. Be strong and fix your mind now that you will not give into temptation. (and I will mark that as a #1) Now let’s describe verse 15 in terms of one of my greatest temptations: Ice cream! (Specifically peanut butter fudge chocolate ice cream- mmmmm). And here we go, desire has been conceived! I don’t know about you – but now I wants some! So this is a moment that can change the outcome of this. I can either dwell on the ice cream – or I can change direction and meditate on something else until the temptation passes. (lets mark that as #2) But I know that ice cream is in my freezer. I bought it as a treat for tomorrow. And I have some hot fudge and peanuts I bought to make the treat better. – – – After thinking about it for a while, what comes next? I could eat it now and get more for tomorrow, because I am blessed and live near the store that sells it. Which is justification. And if we have to justify it, then we probably are not supposed to be participating in it. (This shall be #3)
OK enough – I have the ice cream in my hand, forget the consequences – I am eating it!! And then tomorrow the ice cream store closes due to unforeseen circumstances and there we see sin and death! No, I am not actually eating the ice cream. It was just used as an example. And the truth is I did not buy any ice cream and I have no special need for it tomorrow. It’s an imaginary example. Let me explain why –
At point #1, was our best chance at having a positive outcome. If we are pray-fully guarded and watching out we would have been prepared and our minds fixed. Many lessons we have already learned the hard way cause us to be guarded against them, and if they come up, our flesh is no longer enticed. We have learned. Or a more serious and personal example: when I was in 12-14 years old, I heard a preacher preaching about abortion. I was not (and had no plans on becoming) sexually active, but I decided during that service that I would not ever have an abortion. Then 1996 came around and I found myself pregnant and alone – separated from God by a long list of sins and a sinful lifestyle. The child’s grandmother took it upon herself to schedule an abortion for me and tried to pressure me into having one. As I reasoned with myself – that commitment I made during a church service years earlier rose to the surface of my memory. The preacher had said – once it is decided ahead of time, if the situation ever arises, you can stop yourself from anguishing over the decision and trust that you already made the best decision, especially since the earlier decision did not have emotions involved and pregnancy hormones involved and a broken heart involved. That baby is now a man. He is beautiful and talented and anointed by God (unfortunately he followed my footsteps away from God as well, and we are praying him back into the kingdom)! So make your choice now about what you will do in temptation.
At point #2 you have a way out – distract yourself! Read, pray do something else!! At this point it is still an internal battle with your own flesh! And you can beat it!
At point #3 you are trying to talk yourself into or out of trouble – this is still a place where you can turn away. You have a way out!!!! Take it.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
After point #3 you have participated – you have now opened yourself up to the enemy. It was all a battle against yourself until now.
“and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:27 NIV
So now we have to clean this up before death comes out of it.
The point of all this is: do not say God temps you! Do not say the devil temps you! Grow up and own it. You are your own worst enemy and need to grab ahold of your own responsibility for self-control.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV
I could read that verse a million times a day! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!! But re read that next verse:
“He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” James 1:18 NIV
Now say (out loud): I have been birthed through the word of truth! Are you reading your Bible? Or are you just reading my Bible studies and other people’s Bible studies and not actually opening the book and reading it for yourself?! Bible studies are great and needed – I also read devotionals, Bible study books and watch Bible studies. But We each have to work out our own salvation – we MUST be more than acquainted with the Bible – we must be birthed through it! We are to be His obedient children. We should see ourselves the way He sees us and stand fast in it!
Let us produce those fruits:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
And with such fruit we can prevent our own temptations! With these fruits we have victory over the enemy taking advantage of us in our weakness and gaining a foothold. We overcome moral filth and the evils of today’s world.
Verse 19and 20 James speaks of anger as we learned back in the Love series – Anger creates a foothold for the enemy. Let us decide now ahead of time not to give into it! This is set forth as an example, of which there are many more. When we are weak and submitted fully to the Lord, He is strong and keeps us – but when we are on our own and weak we become a casualty. Casual unguarded Christians die – it says so back in verse 15.
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21 NIV
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NIV
And I have to point out the word “humbly”. Because we just painfully (at least for me who is overcoming the lack of self-control) studied fasting which is often called humbling yourself before God. So is this a case where we are to fast?! Fast so we overcome our flesh? Yes! That is a great reason to fast! Fast to overcome the evil? Again yes! Another great reason to fast. Fast to be humble and have the word of God feed you and grow inside you? Yes! Yes! And a million times yes! Fast in prayer for the power of God in your life?! YES! Fast to improve your relationship with God?! YES!!
If you don’t already, and today you would like to, have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!