Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
What is James talking about in these verses? He is talking about personal responsibility.
He is telling us that temptation and sin are of our own doing. We are not puppets and God is pulling the strings. We are all free individuals able to make our own decisions and choices. And with freedom comes responsibility, personal responsibility.
Our lives are a culmination of all the decisions we make through the years and the consequences of those decisions, nothing more and nothing less.
Many things happen to us throughout the course of a day, week, month, year, life time, things that are outside of our control. What is important is how we react to these uncontrolled events. How we react is within our control.
James writes: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”
Something outside of our control happens. It makes us angry. We are lured into sin by our own desire to seek revenge. God has not put that situation in front of us to test us. We have elected to test ourselves.
Do we pass or fail our self imposed test? And if we do fail, do we curse God for the temptation or do we take personal responsibility? Do we realize that our reaction of hate and anger and desire for revenge is the sin placed squarely on our shoulders by ourselves? Do we realize that our undisciplined, child like reaction is of our own doing, not by anyone else and not by God? Do we sit back and curse God for making these things happen?
If so, then as James states: “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
These verses speak of a common, recurring theme throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testament, personal responsibility.
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