There she sits on the second shelf of the cupboard next to my kitchen sink. Her temptation wields my desires. I give in. My diet is over, but worth it. Have you ever dealt with temptation in your life? If your answer is no, I am sorry to tell you that you are lying to yourself. James doesn’t pull any punches and starts out strong with this subject.
I am sure there are other places in the Bible that talk about temptation, but James’ approach I found more practical than anything I have read before and he gives us not only strict warning of where temptation comes from, but also what happens when we indulge.
Okay, temptation is more than cheating on your diet
First, James says that temptation does not come from God. The logic he presents is quite simple. If God cannot be tempted by evil, then how can he tempt man with the same evil. We learn all throughout the Bible that God and sin cannot co-exist, so how would it make sense that he wields evil to tempt us. Doesn’t make sense does it?
Secondly, he clearly states that when we entertain temptation, it leads directly to sin and the result of sin is death. Note, he did not say that if we give into temptation we will die, but entertaining temptation and then sin will lead to death. Emphasis on lead. We constantly have the choice to turn away from temptation and sin and go towards hope, grace, love, and forgiveness.
Real life application
So I hear ya. The concept of resisting temptation is all fun in theory, but how do we do this in real life? My best advice I can give you is one step at a time. Seriously, do not go and try to tackle the biggest temptation in your life, but build up your strength first. Find something in your life that you have many opportunities to falter on, then work on resistance.
Here is the biggest point I would like to make. You will fail! Sorry, but it is true. You will try to resist temptation and then you will give in. When this happens, simply ask for forgiveness. Forgive yourself, and then move forward. Then, the next time you are tempted, try again to resist. The more you exercise this resistance, the stronger you become.
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