13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted
by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is
from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
The natural progression of a lifestyle of sin begins with the lie, “What I have isn’t enough.”
Much sin results from covetousness: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust” (v. 14). Lust is a natural occurrence because we live in a sin-stricken world with sin-
Lust will come; temptation is a guarantee. But it is the natural progression of temptation of which we must be wary.
A glance can easily become a stare: “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (v. 15a). Temptation, at its most basic level is the desire to satisfy a God-given desire — such as sex — in an ungodly way.
Although no one can escape the inevitability of temptation, he or she can respond to it biblically. We must recognize where this temptation comes from.
James warned us to “not be deceived” (v. 15) as to the source of our temptation. The Son was not tempted in the wilderness by His Father, but by his enemy (Luke 4:1-13).
Similarly, in our temptation, may we not be tempted to blame God for our inability to control our own desires. We must recognize the source of temptation, and we must combat it with the truth of God’s Word: for “He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures” (v. 18).
We avoid sin by cutting the temptation at its root.
When we first begin to fantasize about fulfilling a desire in an ungodly way, we return to the One who is nothing but pure. And yet, we are responsible for the return; no one can say that he is tempted by God (v. 13).
We are one decision away from a lifestyle of sin—make that decision one that runs toward God, not away from Him.
- Where do our temptations come from? Where do they not come from?
- How does all sin begin with a form of discontentment, in other words, desire that has birthed lust?
Pray that in your temptations you would rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to make the same choices that Jesus made and deny sinful temptations that only lead to death.