James 1:13-16 – “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” NASU
I had read this for years and thought, “no one would think that God is tempting them to do wrong.” I was wrong for just the other day I had someone describing a situation in which they were considering a questionable business deal and actually said, “God is tempting me with the easy money.” I paused for a moment and then spent the next hour discussing this with that individual and explaining some clear biblical truths about temptation and the very nature and character of God.
This passage was one of the ones that I referred to. Sadly, the person left our conversation still believing that it was God who was “tempting” him as a “test”. I was unable to change his perspective and his basic explanation which was that even if he failed it would be okay because God was the one that put it in front of him for the purpose of either tempting him or as a way of taking the “wealth of the wicked” and giving it to the righteous. My attempts to explain that unethical and even illegal business deals did not qualify as Righteousness.
Temptation as James describes arises out of our “carnal desires” and when allowed to come to fruition give birth to sin and when sin is accomplished it produces death – Spiritually and ultimately Physically since the cause of death since the Fall of Man in the Garden is Sin or Disobedience. Adam and Eve missed the mark of obedience and in their cosmic rebellion of disobedience brought about the Fall of Man.
It is not God testing you that tempts you it is the devil attempting to play on your lusts or desires and get you to stray from the path of righteousness that God would have you travel. It is not for your good that the temptation is there it is to bring harm. All of us face temptation and if we succumb to it that is not the end of the world if we will turn to God in genuine repentance and Repent. There may be repercussions that are irreparable in this life with other people but with God, we will have placed the Sin and Situation under the Blood Covering of His Grace. Infidelity may cost you a marriage but you can be forgiven by God. Theft may cost you years of freedom but you can be forgiven by God. Lying may cost you friends and the trust of others but you can be forgiven by God.
So, when temptation comes do not blame God for it recognize it as a scheme and attempt of the enemy of our souls to do you harm and draw you away from the path and life that God would have for you. Resist the devil and he will flee! Entertain him and he will get into your heart and your head and cause great damage in your life and relationships.
May God be with you as you go through your day!