Understanding Trouble – Part 2

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:15 NIV)

At the beginning of his New Testament letter, James, the half-brother of our Lord, addresses head on the trouble that Christians run into when it comes to trials and temptations; and he uses the same Greek word for both.  Depending on the context, “peirasmós” can mean either a test of our faith allowed by God for our strengthening and growth, or it can connote the temptation that is sent to us by the enemy of our souls.  We will experience both trials and temptations all of our lives here on earth, but the Lord has promised to walk with us through our trials and to provide a way of escape when temptation comes.

The misunderstanding that exists with regard to temptation—and which Satan capitalizes on, by the way—is the mistaken notion that temptation alone is tantamount to sin.  Here’s what Satan does: he tempts us, but before we can react and take a stance against the temptation, he accuses us and says, “Do you see what’s in your mind?  I thought you were a Christian!”  The truth is that you haven’t consented in your heart to the thought presented to you by Satan himself, but he tries to misidentify temptation in our lives as sin.  The result is that many Christians get discouraged and say, “Wait, I do love the Lord.  I’ve prayed.  I’ve been reading my Bible.  Where in the world did this thought come from?  I thought I was moving on from this thing.  I must really be nowhere in my walk with the Lord.”  The fact is that Satan beguiles us by identifying temptation with sin in our minds so that we don’t think to stand and say, “Satan, I know this is you.  I see the bait!  No!  I don’t consent to this, in the name of Jesus.  This thought is not part of my new life in Christ.  That’s the old junk I used to be involved with. No, in the name of Jesus!..... God, I’m going to praise you right now, even though that filthy thought was presented to me!”  Then start praising the Lord.  Satan can’t stand it when we lift up the name of Jesus!

To be continued…

Read James 1:13-15; Romans 8:1.

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