Temptations

Today we have one of the interesting verses in the Bible, I think. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. (James 1:11,12)” I knew it! Every time I walk past the fridge, I would swear it calls to me, “Check me out. Something delicious is inside. It’s time to snack!” God is not tempting my will power.
Perhaps we need to look at the meaning of temptation. The dictionary defines it as “a thing or course of action that attract, the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” God is not attracted by evil and he does not try to convince us to do evil. I would read that to mean that God is always working for good, mine and the world around me. Luther would say that we are always dealing with the Devil, the world, and our own human flesh or desires. We tend to phrase that as ignorance today rather than the “devil”.
As we have focused on wisdom in Proverbs and as wisdom will come into focus in James, we learned that wisdom is something that is sought, that comes in the ability to control impulses and listen to others and take advice. Teachability. Foundational to teachability is the belief that God is working for our good and is not trying to trick us and tempt us to do evil.
Trials come and we are free to ask for wisdom but we must believe and trust that God is always working for good. Reflecting on the Ten Commandments, are the core beliefs that killing, slander, stealing, coveting do not promote and indeed undermine our lives. Taking time to remember God, remember the Sabbath, speak cleanly and honor parents as one can, promotes life. God is not attracted by evil, does not desire evil, and does not work to trick us. I find that comforting in a world with all sorts of advice and comments about how I should live my life, vote, spend money, or invest. Thank you Lord that you are the true North Star!

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