December 14, 2017
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. -James 1:13-14
James was clear that temptation does not come from God. God "cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone." So, what is the source of temptation that shows itself so strong in our lives?
World. The world around us is at odds with God. It presents a culture that puts man in charge and God at the back of the line. It hits us with wanting what we don't have and having what we don't need.
Flesh. Often we blame temptation on the tempter or on someone else. But sometimes the mirror reflects the source. As believers, the penalty of our sin is gone, but the propensity to sin will remain until the day we die. We are tempted by our "own evil desire." When we give in, we are "dragged away ... and enticed."
Satan. Finding Jesus at a weakened physical state, the "tempter" showed up to test Jesus in the desert. The same tempter comes roaring after us, like a hungry lion seeking to devour us. He works to drive a wedge of disobedience between us and the Father. Satan desires to destroy our witness before others.
Here's the hard truth. Whether the source is the world, the flesh, or the devil, at the end of the day we own our disobedience. God will always provide a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Here's the hard question. Are you willing to take the escape routes?
Father, by Your grace and Your strength may the answer to that question always be "Yes!" In Jesus' name. Amen.