Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.James 1:13 MSG
James began this letter by commanding Christians to see trials in our lives as meaningful and ultimately beneficial things. Struggles during our earthly lives are opportunities to trust God at a deeper level. They can also be traps—excuses used to justify a decision to stop trusting Him and turn away. The temptation attached to trials is to trust God less. We might decide He is not strong enough to provide for us, not faithful to meet our needs, not compassionate about our pain and heartbreak. Is God good? Is He loving? Is He powerful?
James is talking about how we choose to answer those questions about God on our worst days. If we decide to tell ourselves God is not faithful, we may declare our independence from Him by choosing not to obey. If we decide He is trustworthy, we will move closer to Him looking for more help, more connection.
Here James makes clear that blaming God for tempting us to reject Him, by allowing trials into our lives, is not a valid response. God never orchestrates the events of our lives with an intent to lure us away from Himself. He always roots for us to move closer. That’s who He is. The purpose of trials is not to drive us away from God, but to draw us closer to Him.
Christians are never guaranteed an easier life than nonbelievers. Quite the opposite: being a friend to God means being an enemy to the fallen world (John 16:1–4). So, trials will come (John 15:18–20). The trials will test our faith. But the temptation to be unfaithful to God during hardship is not from Him. He is, by definition, good. He can’t be tempted by evil; He tempts no person with evil.
Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire. Amen