James 1:13-18 (Temptations)
Give me your thoughts on this statement by James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’” (James 1:13).
- Does God tempt us?
These few verses from James remind us that WE WILL be tempted in life. But as the Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers, “God will make a way of escape” (1Cor. 10:13). As the Apostle Peter encouraged the believers in his letter, “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2 Pt. 2:9).
Because of this, we find in James’ letter that God cannot be tempted nor does He tempt us (James 1:13).
TWO BIBLICAL TEMPTERS
- Satan: Matt. 4:1; 6:13; Mk. 1:13; 14:38; Lk. 4:2; 1 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:5; Heb. 2:18; 4:15
- People: Ex. 17:7; Dt. 6:16; Ps. 78:41; Malachi 3:15; 1 Cor. 10:9; James 1:14
All of the synoptic Gospel writers state, with great conviction, that it was “the devil” who tempted our Lord in the wilderness – not God (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:2).
Don’t say that you have been tempted by God because:
- God does not tempt us (James 1:13)
- Temptations are a result of our own passions/lusts/likes/must haves (James 1:14-16).
- God makes an escape from temptations (1 Cor. 10:13)
- God delivers the godly from temptations (2 Pt. 2:9)
- We are told to pray for deliverance from temptations (Matt. 6:13)
- Satan/Lucifer/the devil is specifically and directly called “the tempter” (Matt. 4:3).
“Temptation makes us aware of ‘the strength of the evil impulse within us’ and reveals the fragile stuff of which we are made. It humbles us. It makes us more reliant on God’s strength, and therefore less likely to yield” (David Roper, Growing Slowly Wise, pp. 50-51.). Temptations will always focus on getting us to fail by breaking God’s commandments & compromising His standards. But Tests will always focus on strengthening our resolve and maturing us spiritually. GOD DOES NOT TEMPT.
James 1:2-12 (Trials/Tests)
James 1:2 is probably one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. This verse says to us that, instead of feeling defeated, instead of asking why me, we are to somehow face our troubles, our difficulties with rejoicing.
- What is your usual response to trials/tests?
- How does your response generally affect you or your situation?
- When have you ever rejoiced during your trial/test?
- What was that like? How did rejoicing affect you or your situation?
What does James say is the purpose of our trials/tests?
- to strengthen our faith
- to produce patience
- to mature us.
Who is concerned with our growth in faith, patience, and perfection?
- God is.
- So then, our joy is not in our trials/tests right, but in God.
- Paul says in Phil. 4:4-7; “rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!”
When we are tested, when we are tried, the wisdom of God will direct us and the peace of God will preserve us…if our faith does not falter.
What is the result of enduring the test? What is promised to us if we pass the test of life?
- We will be blessed.
- We will be approved or proven faithful.
- We will receive the crown of life.
- Temptations are demonic, they are designed to draw us away from God.
- Tests are Godly, they are designed to lead us to God.
- Rejoice when you are going through a test!
Scripture on TEMPTATION
Temptation is that which moves us to sin. God cannot be tempted (James 1:13). But we can be tempted by our lusts (James 1:13-15), money (1 Tim. 6:9), lack of self-examination (Gal. 6:1), and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16), to name a few. We are commanded to pray to be delivered from temptation (Matt. 6:13) for the Lord is capable of delivering us from it (2 Pet. 2:9).