12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.
This passage of scripture is very instructive to me, it tells me three things.
First, temptation is not sin. I should not feel guilty about being tempted. However, temptation is not from God and this brings me to the second point.
Temptation is not a place I want to hang out. It is like being in a room full of toxic gas. It may not kill me immediately, but with every passing second, it gets harder to escape and I get closer death. It is the same when we are being assailed with temptation, this is the time to run, to call out to the Lord and even call out to a friend – I need to do whatever it takes to breathe the fresh air of God’s promises again.
Finally, temptation always leads to sin if we allow ourselves to continue being tempted. And sin always leads to death if we do not repent of it. Alternatively, God promises a ‘crown of life’ for trusting in Him and fleeing temptation.
Lord, on paper the decision is easy, I always want life over death. But in the heat of the moment, with temptation raging, I have given way to sin many times before. Thank you for wiping out my sinners debt and thank you that I don’t have to sin, thank you that I don’t need to breathe the toxic air of temptation. Thank you for setting me free! Help me make the choices of a man set free from temptation to enjoy the life you offer. Amen
Written by Andrew Mellor