In James, he says, “Never [ever], when you have been tempted, say, ‘God sent this temptation.’ God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and He does not tempt anybody! Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire. Then, the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it too has a child, and the child is death.”
How many times have you heard someone remark about a difficult situation of temptation that “God is testing me”? I’ve heard it even from ministers.
The truth is that God doesn’t tempt us to do anything but good. He may “tempt” you to go to church. He may “tempt” you to help a neighbor in need. He may “tempt” you to do a good deed. But He never tempts you to do a misdeed — to sin, even a little bit. We can do that all on our own!
I used to love a comedic routine by Flip Wilson, who portrayed a character named Geraldine on “The Dean Martin Variety Show” many years ago. Every time Geraldine got caught in a lie or doing something “she” shouldn’t be doing, she would respond with, “The devil made me do it!”
Well, even that isn’t true. The devil may tempt you, but only you can decide how you will respond. The devil cannot make you sin. He knows we have “free will” and cannot make us do anything. We decide. We are in control, and that’s what this Bible verse is all about.
The next time you find yourself in a bad situation, step out of the situation and analyze YOU. Answer these questions:
What has my attitude been like lately? Have I been unusually negative? Have I been responding with anger a lot?
How have I been treating others? My co-workers? My family? Have I been judging others, their remarks or their behaviors? Have I been feeling superior to others, such as my boss?
How have I been feeling about myself? Have I been putting myself down a lot? Have I been other than loving to ME?
- What do my actions of late say about me? Have I been attending church and helping others one day, only to be ill-tempered the next?
We determine many of our life situations by our own actions, according to this Bible verse (and many others, as well). I remember a friend once asking me how she could have brought cancer to herself; after all, she definitely didn’t want such a thing to happen to her. I asked her how she had been feeling about herself before the cancer hit. Her eyes lit up. She had been dumping on herself for some time, not appreciating the beautiful and Godly person she is. So, instead of bringing health and well being to herself, she brought another reason to hate herself and her body.
In Galatians 6:7-8, Paul affirms this with “Where a man sows, there he reaps. If he sows in the field of self-indulgence, he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit, he will get from it a harvest of eternal life.”
Taking the time and effort to be happy and positive does have its rewards — here and in heaven.