Week 12: James and the Fatherless
Day 2: Confronting Wrong Reasoning
Two different kinds of temptation are going on in James 1. The first, the one we have already been looking at, is the testing that God allows in our lives to try and to prove us. Interestingly enough, the word that is translated in James 1:12 as “tried” is from the same Greek root as all of the words that speak of the trying of our faith in I Peter 1:7. (Go here for more on that.) It is that “proving” to make sure our faith is sincere.
Starting in James 1:13, however, James begins to address a wrong reasoning that relates to being tempted with sin. He says,
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” (James 1:13-16)
God does not tempt us to do evil. Oh, there are many temptations, even, or maybe especially, when you are in the midst of one of those purifying trials, but the temptation to do evil does not come from God. It comes from our own lusts.
Often we may think of this as relating to those sins we consider vile, simply because of the reference to lust. But what of the simpler, “smaller” sins: discontent, worry, complaint, jealousy, and envy at the success of others. All of these things commonly occur in the midst of trials, not because they are a part of God’s testing, but because we want (lust after) something else.
Just as sin brings about death in the life of the individual, these very things can be destructive to an orphan ministry. When lust conceives it brings forth sin. That desire for other things can lead to backbiting, to strife, to broken interpersonal relationships, to arguments and disagreements. If not dealt with, they can lead to the death of the ministry.
“Do not err, my beloved brethren.” Know the difference between a trial of faith and the temptation to sin. Remember the source and flee those lusts. God promises to make a way of escape, but we have to follow Him out if we are to bear it. (2 Timothy 2:22, I Corinthians 10:13)