Wednesday, January 31st, '18
All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson
TEMPTATION OR TENDENCY?
no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God..." (James 1:13)
Is God setting me up to see if I will fall?
Absolutely not. The rest of the above verse says, "for God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempts he any man". I know it appears a contradiction -
"after these things...God did tempt Abraham..." (Genesis 22:1) The proper word is test
not tempt. God places us in a position to see if we will do good. He gives
quarterly (sometimes hourly) exams. They are not given to show Him what we are
made of but to show ourselves. Tests are character exposers. God demanded Isaac
to prove the devotion of his heart. We know what is in our heads but what's in
the heart is not always revealed until we go through a trial. "For the Lord
your God proves you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your
heart and all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:3). Why pray, "and lead us not into
temptation", if God is setting us up to make us fall?
Satan is "the tempter" (Matthew 4:3). He
targeted Peter to sift him out as wheat (Luke 22:31).
God also sifts His people (Amos 9:9) but there is a monumental difference.
Satan sifts to get rid of the wheat; God sifts to get rid of the chaff. The
Amos verse says that after the sifting or testing, "yet shall not the least
grain fall to the earth". Believers come out of God's tests smelling like a
rose. The silver is refined, the gold purified. Another way to look at it,
Satan drives; God draws. Temptation pushes us farther away from Him; tests pull
us closer to His heart.
Also, there is a third aspect to temptation
that we need to be wise to. There are tests, there are temptations,
and then there are tendencies. The next verse in James says, "But every
man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed". (vs 14).
Self has its own desires, its own tendencies, and those tendencies need to be
turned over to the Lord. It is our job to discern who is behind what. God tests
for our betterment. The enemy tempts for our defeat. Self is the Ping-Pong ball
caught in between. God is faithful and He superintends all that comes our way.
Though He does not lead us into temptation He will surely lead us through and
out. He always makes "a way of escape that you may be able to bear it" (1
Corinthians 10:13). We pass tests by yielding; we overcome temptations
by wielding. Jesus yielded Himself to the cross but He never yielded an
inch to the devil. Instead He wielded the sword of the Spirit. He drew the Bible
blade from the scabbard of His memory and resisted, saying, "It is written!"
Finally, victory over that third "T" word, human tendency, is not by wielding
but is by willing. Jesus prayed, "Not my will but thine be done". It is
the acquiescence of mine to Thine. We have to "reckon" ourselves
dead to the world and take up the cross to follow after Him. Just know that
whatever Isaac we concede in obedience comes back better than what was given.