One of my favorite books of the Bible is James. To me, James makes Christianity real. James doesn’t sugar-coat how I should act in my daily walk . Notice I said act because James’ little book (just five chapters in its entirety) illustrates that living a life of faith involves action. There are so, SO many practical lessons: on patience (yikes – you mean to get patience I might have to suffer), temptation, loving others, (not) judging others, controlling my tongue (wait a minute – that’s hitting a little close to home).
I’m currently doing a personal Bible study in the book of James, using Max Lucado’s Life Lessons series to help me dig deeper.
This morning, I was reading the passage on temptation and James just straight out says don’t blame God for your temptations. And then James goes on to remind me that even though it’s not God who tempts me as He only represents goodness; because He loves me He provides a way to escape those temptations I struggle with.
In the study, Max poses the question “how should I resist the temptations that are most difficult for me to resist?” Now I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I had to study on that for a bit. For me, the big “external” sins – you know drunkenness, fornication, stealing – those that you can turn around and run away from, are not the ones that are most difficult for me to resist. No. My temptations tend to be more internal – unkind thoughts, jealousy, selfishness. How do I turn around and run away from those? A little harder to do. In fact, those have to be faced head-on.
According to Max, those temptations are “the ones we must face with God’s wisdom”. God’s wisdom? How can I get God’s wisdom. James pointedly tells us how – a simple little thing really – ASK – he says in 1:5;”if any of you needs wisdom, you should ask God for it”.
I’m thinking if I’m asking God for wisdom some of those internal (and external) temptations would certainly at least be weakened if not altogether eliminated.
Let’s use today to ask God for His wisdom, thank Him for His great love for us in providing us with ways to escape what tempts us, and in so doing He blesses us with life forever.