Your temptation does not come from God | James 1:13-16

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.”

When a person is tempted, that person should not just blame God for the reason of that temptation. Before this, James notes in 1:2 that brethren should count it all joy to be tempted. Now here, he notes that it is important not to blame God when being tempted. Man is supposed to patiently endure when tempted; therefore, once the man has successfully endured, he will learn he has become a victor over the temptation.

As the Scripture says, God is not convinced by evil things, in which He should tempt man to do any evil or try to ridicule man for one thing or another. There is no reason for God to act out, and therefore, God stays holy and just without any iniquity.

Men are tempted by their own lusts (their self-desires), and entice themselves with it (they tease themselves). For example, if chocolate makes someone sick and they know they should not eat it, they may be tempted to indulge into it anyway and ignore the fact that it makes them sick. Therefore, if you resist the temptation and endure successfully, you will not be sick; however, if you give in, you may cause sickness in your body again and then regret giving into the temptation.

The desires you dive into cause sin to occur, which means when you give in to a temptation, it means that you sin if that means it disobeys or goes against God. There are some things that are not considered sin, in which people can be tempted with. Keep in mind this type of temptation that causes sin would be negative. Positive things man is tempted with, such as doing good for another person is not included in this admonition. For example, it would not be sinful to be tempted to help someone up when they have fallen, for doing so, you will receive a reward – if not from man, even so from God. However, if someone is tempted to steal something from another person, and they go through with it, then this is considered sin – which would be consequential especially on Earth.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). When someone sins, they are deserving of punishment even death (Romans 3:23). It is best to remain out of sin, especially if a Christian, because setting a good example is the best choice and makes one glorify God (Titus 2:7). It is best, as a Christian, to avoid sin so you do not lead non-christians to their death – for showing a good example might draw them to eternal life. What a benefit!

James tells God’s People not to be erring into sin, because it sets a bad example. As just explained in the paragraph above, it is best to lead a good example to help lead others to Christ and leave their sinful lifestyles. Jesus also says those who err are ones who do not know the Scriptures (so read up on your material folks!), and people err by not knowing God’s Power (Matthew 22:29). In addition, those who think God governs the dead… Well He does not (Mark 12:27). Do not let others mislead you either, hold fast to the Word of God, not man’s philosophy (Colossians 2:4, 8). Do as James says in a few verses (1:19), swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to great anger.

Jesus could not be tempted successfully

Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, a classic account from Jesus’ life when satan attempted to convince Jesus to sin (temptation). Although satan tempted Jesus continuously, Jesus would not give in and be tempted successfully. This temptation came after Jesus had just finished fasting for 40 days and nights in the Judaean Desert. Reportedly in the Bible, Jesus was tempted in every way that man was; however, Jesus successfully resisted the devil, which caused satan to flee from Him – and afterward, angels came and ministered to the Son of God.

Let’s read the account of it in Matthew 4:1-11, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

(There is no need to read the additional account in Luke 4:1-13; however, you may read it in your own time if you would like to compare the two narrative accounts on Jesus’ Temptation.)

What were the temptations:

  1. Physical – Lust of the flesh – Turning stone to bread
  2. Spiritual – Pride of life – Leaping from the Temple
  3. Psychological – Lust of power – Desiring the glory of the kingdoms of the world

What do we learn from this then? We learn that satan attempts to take advantage of our circumstances, satan’s temptations are often the strongest immediately after being favored, and satan’s ideas are plausible in that they seem good, but are not actually.

Jesus shows us how to counter the temptations and endure in steadfastness, and give us the ideal guide – The Word – for use in our everyday lives.