Yesterday’s New Testament reading was from James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
There are a lot of painful times in our lives. Rev. Roger Senechal explained that there are fiery trials of life like cancer, losing a spouse, or unemployment where God draws us closer to him.
But temptations are different; they come from Satan not from God: “No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one (James 1:13).” Rev. Senechal explained further that temptations first start as a thought planted by Satan from our own human desires. We begin imagining the temptation and then become lured and enticed by it; it starts to look appealing. Once the desire is embraced and conceived it becomes sin—we act on the temptation. Rev. Senechal reminded us that temptation isn’t sin until we act upon it!
I thought back over some of the painful seasons of my life. Breast cancer, unemployment, divorce, and losing both parents by age 36 were all trials that brought me closer to God. Temptations did the opposite. When I was tempted to buy a house I couldn’t afford, date a married man when I didn’t feel loved, and stockpile my savings instead of helping a friend, those were all temptations from Satan designed to lure me into sin and to separate me from God.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we learn that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
That’s good news: God is with us in both our trials and temptations.
Rev. Senechal concluded, “We will face inevitable trials and temptations, times when life seems too painful to endure. In order to prepare and protect ourselves, we need to study Scripture, ask God for spiritual disciplines, and follow Jesus’ example. Jesus acknowledged trials, stood the test, and received the crown of life. When tempted, Jesus never embraced the temptations or acted upon them, instead he called upon his God.”
God is with us always.
Blessings, my friend,