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Trials And Temptations

Daily Devotional James 1: 2-18

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good,” author and theologian C. S. Lewis observed. Temptation is a common experience for all Christians. Being dead to sin does not mean the impulse to sin has died within us. The question is not whether we will be tempted someday but when we will be tempted and how we will respond.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial. JAMES 1:12

The temptation to sin is as likely to spring from within as it is from without. According to James, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (v. 14). Sin may still appeal to those who, in Christ, have died to sin. Yet James assures us that God will never be a source of temptation. Sin holds no appeal for God, and He does not tempt anyone (v. 13). We never have to wonder whether it is God’s will for us to sin. The answer is always no.

God does, however, allow believers to face trials (v. 2). Although the same Greek root appears in both words, James makes it clear that these trials arise from different sources. One reason is for our strengthening. But the appeal to sin does not come from Him. New Testament scholar Douglas Moo observes that when we think of trials, “we should probably think both of the difficulties that are common to all people as well as the specific adversities that Christians must face as a result of their faith.”

As Christians, we experience the same troubles in life that everyone else does. But there are also unique challenges that come to us because we follow Christ. God uses the pressure of these difficult circumstances to transform our character and build our faith (v. 4).

>> Trials and temptations are not the same thing. In addition, they call for two very different responses. When you face trials, you should rejoice. When you face the temptation to sin, you should run.

Pray with Us

The life You have given us is difficult. You tell us to rejoice in our trials and flee from attractive temptations. By Your grace, transform us so that these counterintuitive responses become natural for us.

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