James 1:12-14 « Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, then he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bright forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. » (KJV)
The word in this text that should shock every one is the first word « Blessed. » The word literally means, happy and prosperous. But when I go through any kind of testing I don’t feel happy and prosperous. And herein lies one of the most fundamental lessons for any Christian: your feelings rarely testify to truth!
Let’s break down this text:
- Blessed is the man that endures temptation: Happy and prosperous is the one who patiently undergoes with strength and determination the kind of testings and trials that seeks to bring to the surface proof of one’s faith.
- For when he is tried: For once he has been checked out and approved he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to everyone who loves Him.
- Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man. Let no man say when he is undergoing the test that God is seeking to destroy him through the test; for God cannot be destroyed through testing, and so neither does he destroy anyone through testing.
- But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. But every one of us undergoes testing and trials when we are drawn away and enticed with an inner longing for the forbidden thing. This springs the trap that ensnares us so easily.
- Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. Then when the inner longing for the forbidden thing has conceived, it produces repetitive sin. And when repetitive sin becomes our lifestyle, it brings forth death.
The great difference between humanity and God is that God never longs for what is forbidden. This is the very core of what we mean by temptation. When we talk about temptation we are referring to this longing for the forbidden thing. And that longing is on the inside of us.
Paul said in Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.” Decide today that you will live in the Spirit, by the Spirit and for the Spirit… and that you will give no place to the flesh