“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 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. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 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. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”
James 1:12-18 NKJV
Holding onto the hem
Temptation is a common thing in these days, dominated by the Harlot. Everywhere we look, our eyes are drawn to abased things, demanding our attention and pleading for our submission to the baser instincts buried deep within us.
We are most vulnerable in times of trial, when we desire relief right away, when the pain seems so great that we will reach for anything that seems to give us even an instant of release.
In those dark moments, when the pain and anxiety get the best of us, we give in, and all too often, blame the Lord for our trouble. “If only the Lord had given me what I wanted, “ or “if only the Lord would take away the these people who are causing me pain. “ “If only the Lord would stop me from doing the things that cause me harm.”
In reality, the sin is within us, and it is our desire for it that has caused us to stumble, for the Lord does not tempt anyone.
Reading into James this morning, one of my favorite books in the Bible. I am finding that this book is most relevant in these perilous times, for many of us will experience many things, many temptations that will drive us either closer to God, or farther away.
Those of us who are followers of Jesus, must be circumspect in these days for our enemy the devil is lurking about, looking for opportunities to feed us with worldly enticements.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
I Peter 5:8-9 NKJV
We must be on guard, looking diligently upon our lives as if they were a cartoon frame. In the first frame we see a life with no temptation. All is good. In the next there appears on the edge of the frame, a glimpse of the temptation to sin. By then, it may be too late, and we find ourselves with our frame consumed.
Our goal is get back to that moment when not even the hint of temptation is present. Fortunately for those of who have been born again, we have been given a Helper.
He has also given us His word.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, Jesus came to earth to live life as one of us, to take our sins, die a brutal death and rose again from the grave. Let us be mindful this in. Our suffering knowing of the One who can bering healing.
Many of us have suffered long, of which I am one who can be counted. Let us be like the woman with the twelve year issue of blood. She had gone looking for her answers in the world, having been brutalized and mistreated by a multitude of godless physicians, and now she is turning to the Great Physician.
“Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.””
Mark 5:25-34 NKJV
She does not merely wait for His passing near, she went looking for Jesus. Let us go looking for Jesus in the height of our troubles, seeking Him in prayer and in the word, knowing that He will bring our ultimate deliverance. For some of us the healing will not come in this world, but will in the next, as mortality will give way to immortality.
There are no solutions in this world, and the things that we may seek, having given into our temptations are sin, leads only to our demise. Let us look to Jesus, remembering that at every great and perfect thing comes from above. Let us also look forward to that coming Kingdom, where there will be no more pain, no more temptation, no more sin.
“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.””
Revelation 21:3-5 NKJV
Let us hold fast to the hem of the garment of Jesus, seeking the constant healing, even as we endure the daily pressures of the coming season of pain. The Lord can be counted on today, just as He was yesterday, and will be faithful in the days to come.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 NKJV
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