Man is never tempted into doing good, nor is he ever tempted into making the right choices. You’ll never hear someone say they were tempted to eat a kale salad but resisted the temptation and went ahead and ate a cinnamon roll instead. Not that I’m endorsing kale or insinuating it’s healthy, but it’s likely better for you than a cinnamon roll. As far as temptation is concerned, it is always toward evil. The whole design of temptation is to draw you away from good toward evil. Away from the spiritual and to the flesh.
In knowing the originator of temptation, we can rightly conclude that though it may seem pleasing and pleasant, something to consider and perhaps give into, at its core, it is intent on your destruction. It takes wisdom to see beyond the momentary pleasure of a thing to the ultimate end of it.
James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Temptation is an invitation to sin. While God tests our faith, He does not tempt us because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. It’s not as though evil takes a holiday whenever we are tested. It’s not as though the devil is empathetic, and understands you’ve got enough on your plate being tried and all, so he’ll just wait until you’re in a better spot to tempt you.
It’s in the midst of your testing and your trial that the enemy finds an opportune time to attack, and the best mode of attack is always the desires of the individual in question. Men conflate testing and temptation because they usually happen within close proximity of each other and in the same window of time. Just because they’re both happening to you simultaneously does not mean they are coming from the same source.
God allows trials and testing. It may not be popular with the modern-day church, but it is Biblical. Temptation originates from the devil, and he usually piggybacks on your desires in his attempt to draw you away from the truth.
We try to explain this phenomenon with our human reason by insisting that bad things always come in pairs, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, we’re wondering what’s next, and a myriad of other oft-repeated aphorisms that they’ve become cliché.
The enemy is sneaky when it comes to the timing of temptation because when you’re going through a trial and a temptation presents itself, the obvious connection is that giving in to the temptation is a respite from your trial. He is actively attempting to keep you from producing patience by proffering an invitation to do something that, in the least, will set you back spiritually, if not shipwreck you altogether.
Your duty is to discern which is which, distinguish between a trial and a temptation, embrace the one, and reject the other.
I understand it’s an easy thing to say and a far harder one to do when amid a trial or a temptation, but if you can remind yourself that one will serve to make you stronger and the other will likely kill you, you will find the time to analyze the situation and determine what it is and from whence it came.
What James was able to accomplish within the span of two verses is reverse engineer sin and trace it back to its genesis and its inception. He also dispels the myth that the devil made anyone do anything. It begins with desire, and that desire begins in the heart of man. If your desire is the kingdom of God and His righteousness, the enemy has nothing to tempt you with. It would be counterproductive to his goals to try and get you to be holier, more faithful, more devoted, and more committed.
It’s why the Bible speaks on man's heart, insisting that it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Desire begins in the heart, and if the desire is impure, the enemy will find a way of facilitating an invitation for you to surrender to it, that it may conceive and birth forth sin.
You excise the thing before it becomes a thing. You rebuke it and remove it from your heart, replacing it with the quest for righteousness before it’s given the chance to conceive because once it conceives, it will birth sin, and when it is fully grown, sin will bring forth death.
That thing you thought was cute and harmless, just something to pass the time, a distraction, a break from monotony, once fully grown, will rip you to shreds and not feel any kind of way about it. We’ve all heard the stories, the mournful, incredulous questions of how he or she could do this or that, how they could have sunk so low or gone so far, and in the end, the Bible has the answer. You may think you can control your sin, but it’s just an illusion. Unless you repent of it wholly, unless you remove the desire for your heart, your sin will grow and mature, and when fully grown, it will kill you.
There’s no such thing as a functioning alcoholic, a part-time harlot, a recreational pornography watcher, or an occasional adulterer. These are all sins that, when fully grown, will bring forth death. Those who treat sin lightly aren’t just playing with fire; they’re playing with a plague so lethal that it kills every host it inhabits without fail or exception. A one hundred percent mortality rate is nothing to scoff at or take lightly.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 13 November 2023 | 1:09 pm
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