An Inside Job

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If you’re like me, you’re not a fan of trials/tests. You may do everything in your power to evade them. I’ve prayed on multiple occasions for God to remove the test I was facing.

Spoiler alert…This is one prayer God doesn’t answer.

Trials do not originate with God; they are the result of being alive. Yet, God never wastes a moment in our life. He uses these unavoidable moments to develop godly character and righteousness in you.

James 1:9-18 says, blessed is the person who remains steadfast, under trials. Tests are hard. Tests are meant to be challenging. If test were easy, they’d be called a vacation.

A blessed man/woman endures trials; they don’t run from them. When you run from a test, it’s only a matter of time before it will catch up to you.

We all fight an internal battle with temptation. If you have a pulse, you will be tempted. Temptation is a precursor to sin but is not sin in and of itself. It’s this inner battle that makes sin an inside job.

When temptation is left unchecked, it will give birth to sin. Sin will always drive us away from God. In Genesis, when Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they hid from God out of shame.

James exposes the process of sin so that we can identify it and by faith stop it in its tracks.

#1 Each person is lured and enticed by his own desire.

The words lured and entice reveal the customized assault on our humanity. The word lured means to draw out, to drag away from. Entice means to bait.

We need to avoid judging others for the temptations they struggle with because theirs is no less sinful than yours. Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

Know what your weaknesses and triggers are for sin and submit to God’s plan, not your desire.

#2 Desire conceived gives birth to sin.

The word conceived means to take, to receive, to grasp in one’s hand.

Desire conceived implies engagement. It’s not temptation that comprises us but our engagement with it, as we allow our thoughts to linger, and draws us out by stimulating our senses to take the bait.

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

  • Sin weighs us down;
  • Slows our spiritual development down;
  • Suppresses our joy;
  • Separates us from God;
  • Detains our peace;
  • Detours God’s plans.

So lay it down, don’t engage temptation so that you can run with endurance.

#3 Fully grown sin brings forth death.

Sin is not your friend. Sin wants to shame you, isolate you, and put a wedge between you and God. Sin is not concerned with your happiness but your failure.

“The wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23

Our battle with temptation and sin intensifies when we focus on the present and not the future. We need to ask ourselves, “what’s the end game in my pursuit of sin?” “How is this helping or hindering my relationship with God and eternity?”

But there is a better way.

James describes the nature and character of God as unchanging, stable, without variation.

  • God does not have mood swings.
  • He does not have bad days.
  • He does not vacillate in His treatment towards us.

Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. He can’t give imperfect or bad gifts. It’s not that He won’t, He can’t.

If you came and told me you were in a huge bind and asked me to could borrow a million dollars, I can’t give it to you. It’s not that I won’t, but I can’t. It’s not within my ability to do so. (I’m a pastor)

Likewise, it’s not in God’s ability to give bad things to us. He can’t do it.

What could sin possibly offer us that is better than what God has for us? Sin will lead to the death of your relationships, marriage, family, job, and ultimately spiritual and physical death. Every gift God gives is good and will keep our focus on Him and eternal things.

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