No one is to 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.
Throughout His letter, James spoke of testing and trials. But he wanted to make very clear that when testing happens, we should not respond by accusing God of tempting us. Those are two very different things. We don’t serve a God who entices us to sin—that comes as a result of our depravity and our choosing something else over Him. Indeed, He always provides a means of escaping temptation, so it doesn’t overtake us (1 Cor. 10:13).
James would go on to lay out clearly how we open the doors for temptation that lead to sin and death. Satan knows what we want and desire—how God has wired us with good longings—and he twists them. In big and small ways, he twists our desires to make sin appear the more enticing option. But Scripture is clear that this is the road that leads to death (Rom. 6:23), and God is never the one who leads us into temptation.
No, it isn’t God who leads us into sin. In fact, everything good comes from Him (Jas. 1:17). If He is the Father of lights, He cannot lead us into darkness. He is unchanging and unwavering, even when we are shaken, tried, or tested. But Jesus did show us the way out. Just as He was tempted in every way (Heb. 4:15), He demonstrated that God’s truth is more powerful than any of Satan’s lies. He showed this in His own temptation in the wilderness and throughout His ministry. On this side of heaven, we will often find ourselves tempted to take our eyes off Jesus. We will be tempted to choose lesser loves. We must remember in those moments that God isn’t the one tempting us, but always providing a way back to Him.
- How does this description of God’s character give you hope in the midst of trials and testing? How do you doubt God’s character when you find yourself tempted in different ways?
- When have you blamed God for the temptations you faced? How have you, in fact, opened up those doors instead? How has God provided you the power and the means to resist Satan’s lies?
- Spend time in prayer thanking God for never leading us to temptation. Thank Him for always providing the way out of sin. Ask Him for a renewed power to resist in the places you are most susceptible to Satan’s lies.