I’ve borrowed this graphic from Beth Amatelli’s “I talk … God listens” for today’s blog, along with verses:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4 KJV)
We quote from different translations to get the message across that Christians will face a wide variety of temptations, just as non-believers do. For us, though, working through those temptations with patience has rewards. In the next verse is a great help in times of temptation:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5 KJV)
We ask ourselves, “Can this be wrong? No one is being hurt, it’s not illegal (or only slightly so), and no one else will know about it.” Really?
If we do wonder about the “rightness” or “wrongness” just follow verse 5. Solomon did when he first became King of Israel. God offered him assistance and he asked for wisdom – and received much more. Doesn’t appear he utilized that wisdom, or God either, later on as he acquired women as signs of alliances with others. Instead, we see him displaying his accumulations and wealth to the Queen of Sheba. Doesn’t appear very wise, does it? What changed?
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8 KJV)
It is easy to become a double minded man, wanting to separate but retain unequal things in our lives. As Christians, we believe in God, trust His offer of Jesus as our savior and look forward to eternity with him – but we’re tempted by so many things in this world that we ignore their being defined as “off limits” in His word.
One person told me, after he left his church, “If there were a God, he would want me to be happy,” though his chosen lifestyle was biblically defined. Honestly, I don’t see any where in any verse that God wants us to be happy here on earth.
What God has told us, again and again, is His desire for a relationship on His terms. Are we too independent to take time to understand His terms? They include NOT giving in to temptation, but patiently working through to the reward:
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12 KJV)
There is nothing this world, or anyone in it, has to offer that could match that crown of life. Temptation, on the other hand, does offers worse:
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 1:14-16 KJV)
James addresses how we do that, too:
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:21-22 KJV)
When we decide to “Just do it!”, we need to be certain it is God’s word we are doing. Make life the sweetness of lemonade, especially when given the sour bitterness of lemons.