The most important words of James 1:13-18 are temptation/tempted. The word “temptation” (or a variation of it) is found five times in the first two verses of this section. It’s pretty obvious that this is what interests James.
He dealt with the fact of the occurrence of temptation, who is responsible for it, and the end results of temptation if it is allowed to take root.
Where the last section revealed the frame of mind needed to remain faithful during temptations, this section is dealing with the requirement of personal responsibility. Without it, we are doomed.
Personal responsibility starts with placing blame where it belongs.
Instead of blaming God or our circumstances for temptations toward sin, we would be better served to place that blame squarely on our own shoulders.
God is not creating temptation when He gives you things to enjoy. The purpose of all that God created is simply to provide for us and cause us to appreciate Him more. Every good thing that we have comes from His love for us. He is not to blame when we abuse those gifts.
We are the ones who take His good gifts and abuse them, twisting them to our own devices. That’s generally because we misunderstand their purposes and functions. Whether it is from ignorance or misinformation, we are the ones who twist God’s gifts.
Our desires draw us away.
They cause us to use the things God provides in ways He never intended.
We see or hear about someone who does something, and we become enticed by the idea. We think that we can take a shortcut to the things we need in life. We think that we can get what we want by doing things we know are wrong. Satan sees our desires and uses them against us.
It’s not wrong to desire things. We desire food and shelter, and that’s fine. Desire itself is not sin. In fact, if you look at the processes that lead to sin, it is obvious that desire is not sin. But it certainly can lead to it! These natural, healthy desires of life can be twisted, and we can be enticed by them to do wrong.
That desire “conceives” an idea or thought, and that brings forth sinful activity of some kind. When sin reaches its ultimate fulfillment, it brings spiritual death.
The key, then, is to see and stop the processes of sin before it can grow.
Understand the root of your desires and you are a giant step toward fighting off sin and getting rid of sinful behaviors.
What is it you hope to gain? Why are you involved in this activity? When you can answer questions like that, it will be easier to take that information and use it to build your life.
I am sometimes amazed at the lengths we humans will go to convince ourselves that sin is somehow God’s fault, or the fault of others around us. We tend to blame everyone except ourselves. Until we come to terms with the fact that we are responsible for our own actions, we do not really have any way of coping with the problems and sins we deal with on a regular basis.
In the end, if we sin we are the only ones to blame for it.
If we learn to control our desires and learn to think properly about the things of this world, we will avoid a lot of problems.
OK, so, I have a long way to go in some areas. How about you?
See you tomorrow!