Don't Blame God: James 1:13-18

May 3rd, 2009

James 1:13-18


 1:13.  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God''; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
 1:14.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
 1:15.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
 1:16.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
 1:17.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
 1:18.  Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Don't Blame God.

It's a fact of life, sometimes bad things happen, even when we don't deserve it, or when we didn't do anything to bring on those trials and sufferings. Then there are those other times. We, by our own doing, commit a sin, break a law, and now it's time to pay the price.

God has defined certain actions as good or bad. His purpose behind doing that is to encourage us, to lure us, closer to him, and in becoming the humans that he desires for us to be. The Devil may play a part in drawing our attention to the bad things, but temptation is about all he can really do. You can't blame him either. It still takes our own action before it is a sin. We each have the power to choose, or not to choose to act on a teptation. It boils down to our choice, and our responsibility.

Consider this model of sin, Eve and the snake, and the forbidden fruit. Eve knew it was something that God said not to eat. She hadn't been. The serpent draws her attention to it. Did the snake pick it and hand one to her? No. Did the snake cook up a yummy meal of fruit and spoon feed it to Eve? No. All that was done was to draw attention to it. To put questions of doubt in Eve's mind. She could have just said, "That's nice," and walked away to some other part of the garden. The snake is now out of the picture, and Eve is left there to gaze upon the fruit. To let her imagination go wild and desire it. To rationalize that it can't be as bad as all that. Finally she acted on what her own desire had built up.

Pick a sin, any sin, you'll find that it will fit into this model. Neither Cod or the Devil make us sin. We make the decision, and do the action. The devil might plant the seed of doubt and tempt us. God defines what the boundary is, but it is always us that crosses it.

What about those times when it just slips out? Maybe you smack your thumb with a hammer, or in responce to a touch of road rage, say a few choice words that break that commandment about taking the Lord's name in vain. It just slipped out. It was a reaction to instant pain, or rage. I didn't have time to be tempted, or enticed. It still all takes place in the dark corners of the mind. Those words were already there in the memory banks of the brain. They get there by any number of means. Using language, any language, is a learned practice. Those words may not ever entirely come out of memory, but you can condition your reaction practice to use alternate words, whether real, or jibberish ones just for that purpose. It all starts in the innermost thoughts.

If God is to be blamed for anything, blame him for the good things in life. There are certain things that can always be relied on. This is one of them. God causes good, not sin.

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