Daily Thoughts : March 8th
Jas 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
We come to one of those simple confusions in the Christian life – the difference between temptation and testing. James has just said, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test …..” So, James has linked trials with tests. When a trial comes along, a difficulty in life, it tests us to see how we are doing spiritually in life. The aim of a test in God's kingdom is that we pass it and succeed.
The difference with a temptation is that it is Satan or Sin who bring it and the objective is to make us fall. James' point is that God does brings tests but He doesn't do anything to try to lead us into sin. James explains the process of temptation as follows: “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” (v.14,15) In other words, if we have not put to death wrong desires then either they will rise up again of their own accord, or Satan will play upon them, and if we give way to them that is sin. But note that God is not involved!
A trial may almost certainly involve a temptation but the way we overcome the trial is by overcoming the temptation and getting the grace of God to triumph. Whatever the trial, God's grace is there for us to draw upon to help us overcome. Hallelujah! Resist the temptation, pass the test, be an overcomer!
So, to summarise, realise we are in both a schoolroom AND a battlefield. We are in God's schoolroom where He teaches us, and part of that teaching is to test us to see how we are getting on. But it's also a battlefield where Satan is a combatant and he seeks to put temptations before us to think wrong, speak wrong and do wrong. Where you recognise that happening, turn it round and see it as a test to be overcome, and pass the exam!
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