“It wasn’t me!” This is the familiar, natural response when faced with our own shortcomings. We tend to blame others rather than take responsibility. We see this exemplified in the Fall. When God questioned Adam, he blamed Eve. Then, when God asked Eve, she quickly ascribed fault to the Serpent.
In James, it is clear that the source of our temptation is within ourselves. It is not the circumstances around us that bring temptation, it is our own heart and sinful desires. Every single temptation is a response, a sinful desire within us. We can choose to act upon this temptation and give into sin or we can battle this temptation with the Truth of God’s Word. Jesus, when tempted by Satan as recorded in Matthew 4, battles the temptation with Scripture.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted without sin. This can be difficult for us to grasp. I believe that when we are tempted, we cross the line between temptation and sin so easily. We battle with our thoughts and physical temptations. However, Jesus never crossed that line into sin. He did not have that struggle into sin. He had to face the temptations that we face as 100% God and 100% human to take our place on the cross and so imputed us His righteousness.
In Genesis 3:1-3, Satan tempts Eve by questioning the truth of God’s Word. Rather than declaring honestly what God had commanded about the tree, she twists His Word. We know from Genesis 2:16-17 that “the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'”
However, when Satan questions God and tests Eve, she changes God’s Word by saying that they would maybe die if they even touched it:
“And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” ~ Genesis 3:1-3
We are tempted when doubt begins to question the goodness and the truth of God’s Word. We easily fall into temptation when we push aside God’s Word and act upon that temptation.
Ungratefulness makes us susceptible to temptation and subsequent sin. We can be tempted and wrestle with this temptation without sin. If we do fall into sin, we must immediately repent and confess our sins to the Lord. He is faithful to forgive us and give us a fresh start (1 John 1:9).
The alternative to repentance, James declares, is death. This is not a good alternative! We must fight against sin and the lies of the enemy. The amazing thing is that God wants to bless you abundantly! You do not need anything that sin has to offer! Are you willing to say to God, “I want what you want for me. I trust you are good.” I guarantee you, He is good.
Oh Lord, bring this to our memory- the Truth and Goodness of our God!