Reflections on the Word of God

Being Tempted

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Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. –James 1:13-15

Today I received my file from my attorney concerning my Social Security case.  After opening the file, I discovered many inaccurate entries that were not only contradictory, but would also lead any reviewer to deny my case.  I was angry, upset, and ready to pick a fight.  So why didn’t I pick up the phone and call my attorney right away?  Because by the time I opened the file and started reading through it, their office had closed for the day.  Instead of our normal routine during dinner, my wife and I had a conversation about how I was feeling.  She let me rant for a while but kept pulling me back to scriptures.

We are currently studying the book of James.  We read last night, James 1:1-12 where it talks about having joy in the face of trials.  Because without trials, we Christians cannot be spiritually mature and grow.  That got me to thinking how immature I have been in my faith lately.  I also read ahead to the next night’s reading James 1:13-18.  But the Holy Spirit showed me that I need to concentrate on verses 13-15.  See I was so upset at my attorney, at my doctors, and at the people who had denied my claim that I wanted to fight and argue with anyone.  It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that one of my ‘temptations’ is to be angry.   I never thought of being angry as a temptation before.  I always thought of temptation as something like looking at porn, or the love of money, or wanting more ‘stuff’ etc.  I never once equated it with being angry.  Then I realized that I like to be angry.  It was my own desire to be angry all the time.  It was safe, easy, and comfortable.  Being angry for some people, including myself, is just as much of a temptation as any of the other sins that God hates.  God hates sins because it brings spiritual death.  And spiritual death is eternal separation from Him.

So where do I go after this realization?  As for my legal case, I don’t know.  But honestly, I feel that God is more concerned about the spiritual condition of my heart than anything else.  God can use us regardless of our physical condition.  A prime example of that is Joni Eareckson Tada, who is now a quadriplegic after a diving accident.  After allowing her heart to be healed, God has used her for great things even though her physical body was never restored.  I have to allow God to heal my heart through these trials and temptations.  To be truly healed, I must allow Christ into my heart.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Apostle Paul writes “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Prayer- “Jesus, I admit, that I have truly never lived up to this.  The “old” has never really passed away I have been hanging on to it like a security blanket.  I have never fully allowed You access into all areas of my heart. Help me to remember that my temptations are born out of my own desire. Please forgive me the sins that I have committed against You and cleanse my heart.  In Your most holy name I pray.  Amen” –E.C.

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