Here it is almost Sunday already and I have not yet posted my notes from Pastor Tony's sermon on James last Sunday!
12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Pastor Tony begin by reminding us that the temptation, testing and trials are useful because they reveal you for who you are. We were reminded that no one is beyond messing up. We shouldn't be surprised when we fail - God certainly is not. When you mess up, it's a chance to see who you are and who God can be in your life.
Jesus knew that Peter was going to deny him and yet said in John 14 that He was going to prepare a place for him. God promises a crown to those who stood the test.
The passage goes on to remind us that God will never do anything in your life to entice you to sin in action or word. Trials are to see who you are and who he is, not to cause you to sin. We are drawn away by our own evil desire. Our flesh is selfish and self-absorbed. A satanic lure that looks attractive to you is what entices our selfish desires. We can be enticed by satisfaction, pleasure or any goal other than God such as keeping up with others, a desire for power. Satan can place thoughts in your mind (remember Peter who told Jesus he wasn't going to die, and was rebuked as speaking Satan's words). Satan can entice us by helping us justify what we want. People can look for things that satisfy themselves in crowd dynamics. A relationship with Jesus is really a lot of one-on-one time walking and seeing who we really are.
Desire to have it your way then gives birth to sin. The devil can't "make you do" anything - it all begins with your own desire. A check on your desire for money can be made by realizing that if you love money more than God's word it will be seen by how you compromise God's word to get more of it. This can be done by "kissing up" to certain people in order to get a promotion.
Then sin is born. It's a helpless baby we think we can handle. We feel superior and in control of it. But, it grows and when fully grown it brings death. The further we get from Jesus, the more susceptible we are to Stan's attack. You'll discover what you are and you will reap what you sow. We are guilty and responsible for our own sinful desires.
The message wan't one that made me "feel good." It's a reminder to examine the motivation of my heart. In me is nothing good but for Christ.