Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
James was clear that temptation does not come from God. God “cannot be tempted with evil,” and “he himself tempts no one.” So, what is the source of temptation that shows itself so strongly in our lives?
- The world around us is at odds with God. It presents a culture that puts people 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. We want to 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 desire[s].” When we give in, we are “lured and enticed.”
- Satan. Finding Jesus in 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). Are you willing to take the escape routes?
Talking to God
Father, I am in desperate need of your help. On my own, I am no match for temptation. The world, the flesh, and the devil hit me from all sides. But I know that you are greater. Please give me your strength that keeps me from being enticed by my own desires. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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