The verses of James 1:13-15 are a clear reminder that God does not tempt us to sin; rather, it is the result of our own fleshly desires. We are drawn into temptation by our own desires and if we allow that enticement to grow, it will develop into sin and ultimately, death. We must accept the fact that we are the ones responsible for the sin in our own lives. That is why the Apostle Paul explains that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24) and that we must renew our minds in order to be transformed from the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
Accepting this responsibility is a sign of growth and maturity in one’s faith and Christian journey. The real tests come as we battle these temptations daily and put to death the desires of the flesh.
What is truly amazing is God’s provision and blessing in the midst of our struggles. The passage below is a reminder, not of the negative impact of temptation and sin found in the previous verses, but the incredible faithfulness and blessings that God provides.
“16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” (James 1:16-18)
We should not be deceived and misunderstand God as He relates to two areas – temptation and blessing. Scripture is clear that God does not tempt us to sin, and that He provides anything that is a good or perfect gift in our lives. Not only is God not responsible for temptation, He is the only source of our blessing.
James wants his readers to realize that good fortune and blessing are not the result of chance or luck, but instead are directly from God. He also wants to be clear about the fact that the character of this God is unchanging. The blessings are not based on our ability to be faithful or resistant to temptation. The blessings are based on God’s consistent character. He will never change.
The example of His blessing given in this passage is the new spiritual life that God has provided to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. This birth, through the word of truth - the gospel - is available only because of the grace of God. This blessing of redemption and restoration back to Him is the greatest example of a good and perfect gift provided by God.
In light of such an underserving gift, God expects that we who have been provided this blessing represent Christ as a first installment of God’s redemptive plan for all of His creation. We are not only the first example, but also the fulfillment of a promise that God will restore all creation back to Himself. The question for us is this: how are we demonstrating to others that God desires to rescue and redeem all humanity? What action will you take today to share God’s grace and love with others?