by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Temptation is a powerful force that strives to lure us into dangerous areas. Its insatiable hunger will pursue us relentlessly until we are destroyed. Yet, we cannot personally do anything to stop its attacks. He just keeps coming at us with teeth bared.
No one is immune from temptation because Satan has his own addiction (1 Peter 5:8). He will win battles against every one of us (Romans 3:23). However, if we will follow the right path, we will find the answers that will save us from Satan’s clutches (James 4:7).
Temptations are unique to the individual context and preferences of each person. Temptations come in every form and the ones we feed will grow until they consume us. At this point, they take over our lives and we are slaves to their appetites. Sin pushes righteousness aside and God departs from our lives.
Temptation, when we have given it teeth, pounds at us relentlessly until we comply. We are unable to think of anything else for very long. It must feed or else. Satan rules our lives as we become a husk to be discarded onto the trash heap.
The reality is that temptations cannot be stopped and we must resign ourselves to this reality (Matthew 4:1-11). God’s people are never immune to them. All we can do is come to Christ and employ the weaponry he gives us to protect our souls. We cannot blame God because Scripture educates us to the dangers (James 1:12-15).
God never tempts us so blaming him for our temptation is ludicrous. Temptation is wholly foreign to God.
“Not only is God himself not susceptible of evil through temptation, he tempts no one. Untemptable himself, because of his inherent goodness and eternal abstinence from every evil thing, he does not thrust into the lives of others that which is wholly foreign to his own.”/1
James uses the language of hunting and fishing when he says we are “drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14, NKJV). Satan is a master fisherman and knows the exact bait that will capture each of us.
We must remain focused, fully aware of where we are vulnerable, and avoid the traps placed before us (Ephesians 6:10-17). Being honest with ourselves and God is essential to survival.
Temptation leads us to sin and James uses the imagery of birth to make his point.
“Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15).
Temptation is the gateway to sin. Seemingly small decisions in our lives can lead to eternal consequences. We must become well-versed in Scripture so we can be alert to the dangers facing us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Only in Christ can we be safe (Hebrews 11:6).
All blessings are found in Christ, so we must be added to his body (Ephesians 1:3; Galatians 3:27). If we are in Christ, and we reject Satan’s tricks, we are certain to be with the Lord in heaven for all eternity (Romans 8:1). Through the grace and mercy of God, we can overcome Satan and live in peace (Hebrews 13:5).
1/ Guy N. Woods, “A Commentary on the Epistle of James” (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1964), 58.