By Sheeri Mitchell
James 1:13-18 (New International Version)
“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.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
A few months back I had the privilege of listening to a sermon on temptation by Pastor John Burke, author of “No Perfect People Allowed.” While it is not as pleasant a topic as love or grace, it is important to understand and to prepare against. Some of the principles below I gleaned from that sermon.
Everyone gets tempted. Even Christ our Lord was tempted. There was the one really intense session he had with Satan in the desert (Matthew 4), but there were many others throughout his life – especially throughout his passion. Read the gospel of Matthew chapters 26 and 27.
In a world full of instant gratification, where we can indulge just about any whim, staying pure can be really difficult. often says “The first thought is free.” God does not hold us responsible for being tempted. He holds us accountable for what we do once tempted. When you are tempted, understand that God is not the source or the cause. But the following three things are: