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Tempting and Testing

Tempting and Testing

Words of Faith 4-13-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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James 1:13-14

        When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

 

        A mature Christian knows that places of temptation are actually places where we grow a lot.  It is a strange paradox of the Christian life.  There is little in the life of the Spirit that is as empowering as victory over the enticement of sin.  We come out stronger.  It is little wonder that some in the first century were saying, "God tempted me so I would grow!"  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Oh, the testing is allowed by God to be sure.  But the tempting itself is never from God. 

       James is pretty bold in this introspection.  No, it is not even "the devil that made me do it" that he will chant.  It is "my own evil desire.”  We actually know the drill on this-- ... after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

       There are times when, in our human arrogance, we think we can play with desire, but it drags us away.  Sin and death, a separation from God, are the result.  God would never tempt us toward that! He actually can't do that.  He can only draw you to Himself.   But on that road toward God, God can lead us or allow us into the place of testing. 

        The Scripture is clear about that. The Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert to be tempted (Lk. 4:1-2).  God knows that, at times, it is only in the desert of temptation that we will find ourselves. Jesus taught that temptation was a place we should go only if there is no other way.  He instructed us to pray: "Lead us NOT into the place of temptation but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13).   For Jesus, the temptation in the desert was a time to rebuke the tempter with God's Word.  For us, it is likely the same.  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

         Paul seemed to have a grasp of the struggle and how to find victory when he wrote to the church at Corinth:   "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) There is always a way out.

         Tempted lately?  Hang in there.  The victory will make you strong. God is not tempting you, but He is very much in charge of shaping You.

 

        Lord, lead me not into the place of temptation, but as I find myself there, let me stand up to the test and see Your way out.  Let me learn quickly what it is You want me to learn in every trial of life I encounter. Make me into who You want me to be.  In Jesus' Name.  Amen.

 

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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