S12P5 – The testing of faith: knowing the source of temptation

James 1:13-15
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” [for temptation does not originate from God, but from our own flaws]; for God cannot be tempted by [what is] evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.

Several posts ago we discussed the concept of evil baiting us into committing evil. Here, James uses that same word to describe the root of temptation. We are tempted by evil but not by God. He may allow the temptation for a time and a purpose, but He does not cause it. Understanding this truth is fundamental to having a right relationship with God, because we cannot attribute any form of evil to God and still claim to know him. This is blasphemy.

There are two elementary and sensible reasons why God cannot tempt us. First, as James explains, temptation originates from that which is evil. Being perfect, God is incapable of committing evil acts. If He cannot act in an evil manner, He cannot tempt us. Second, temptation has the goal of causing us to fall. It does not desire for us to overcome, because our overcoming temptation renders it futile. The word of God, however, tells us that He is for us and not against us [Rom. 8:31-32]. He does not desire for us to fall into temptation but to escape it, which is why He makes a way out of it every time [1 Cor. 10:13]. A God who desires that we overcome temptation certainly would not tempt us.

If we attribute temptation to God, we attribute evil to him. This we cannot do. If we believe that our fight against temptation is a fight against God, we will not be victorious. Understand that God can only be on our side, and He desires that we emerge unscathed from the temptations that come our way. Father, remind is when we face temptation that You are not its source but its antidote, and that You have made a way for us to resist faithfully every time.