Page 4 - April 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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What Is Temptation?                   forked tongue, is two-fold: namely, the
          Temptation is an inevitable human ex-  results will be rewarding and also worth
        perience, ever since Eve in Eden. Though   the cost. Not only is there something
                                              desirable to gain, but what is gained will
        its existence is acknowledged, its potency   far outweigh any potential consequences.
        is underestimated; therein lies its danger.   However, James debunks this alluring
        It entraps the strongest and the weakest,   myth, stating that such “desire, when it
        the old and the young, the veteran of   has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin,
        battles won and the naïve youngster. We   when it is fully grown, brings forth death.
        might be subjected at one moment to its   Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers”
        bold proposition, and at another to its   (1:15-16). “Do not give in to the temptation
        seductive wiles. As believers we “have   to possess something God has not given
        been set free from sin” (Rom 6:22),  yet   yet or may not ever give you. Guard your
        still face its daily presence “that dwells   heart by carefully trusting the wisdom of
        within me” (7:17). We, together with Paul,   God  and not what you can see that looks
        wrestle with this agonizing tension, know-  delightful.” 2
        ing that “nothing good dwells in me, that
        is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do   Does God Tempt Us?
        what is right, but not the ability to carry   In Genesis 22:1, in the matter of Isaac,
        it out. For I do not do the good I want, but   we read, “And it came to pass after these
        the evil I do not want is what I keep on   things, that God did tempt Abraham”
        doing” (7:18-19).                     (KJV). In other translations, this word is
          For the purposes of this series, we will   “test” or “prove.” How can we understand
        look at temptation, in the biblical sense,   the meaning here in light of James’ appar-
        as anything that invites or pressures us to   ently opposite assertion? “Let no one say
        disobey God. Of course, it is almost always   when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted
        framed in a much more attractive way,   by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with
        with promises couched in terms of beauty   evil, and he himself tempts no one” (1:13).
        or pleasure, of power or advantage, of   As always, context is our friend and the
        comfort or enrichment. Temptation not   key to understanding the meaning in
        only extends an invitation; it always issues   each case. Who is doing the tempting/
        a promise. The promise, like a serpent’s
                                              ² Mark E. Shaw, Understanding Temptation: The
        ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the   War Within Your Heart (Focus Publishing, 2014),
        ESV unless otherwise noted.           16.

        100 TRUTH kTidings   April  2023
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