July 3, 2007

James 1:12-18 ~ July 3

Again, we are to welcome trials and know that by God's strength we can go through them. This verse causes me to think especially of today's persecuted Christians and martyrs. When they have stood the test God will give them a crown of life that he promised to those who love him. Truly those who stand by their faith when faced with torture, ridicule, or death have learned to lean on God's power. Today in my life, there are tests of another proportion. Most of it is peer pressure and influences from people who claim to be Christian and then don't really have any fruit in their life or appear to be living any differently from the world. That hurts me so much and aggravates me the most!

God obviously allows us to experience trials in our lives, but he does not tempt us to do evil. James says in verse 13-14 that is it is our own sinful nature. God cannot tempt and is not tempted. I am tempted by my own evil desires. So now, my desire is to, of course, cling to God and withstand those temptations. My own sinful nature is showing its ugly face when I am tempted to do evil things or anything disobedient to God. Once that desire is there, James says it gives birth to sin. How many times do I succumb to temptation? Often. Therefore, the verse about fleeing from temptation or any hint of evil comes to mind.

Don't be deceived--the people who refuse to abandon their sinful lifestyle will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (1 Cor. 6:9) Salvation is a free gift - but that forgiveness we receive gives us a new life - we are a new creation, and must desire to obey God and live a life that pleases and glorifies him. The "christian" who continues their lifestyle of homosexuality is not pleasing God. God will forgive, but until that person is convicted and repents, the Spirit of God cannot enter them.

Every good gift is from God. He loves us and wants us to have good and perfect gifts. He is steady and unchanging, not like shifting shadows. God chose to give us birth, to redeem us, that we may be a kind of firstfruit of all he created. We are part of the kingdom of God, a small picture of all that is to come when the world is judged and new heaven and earth are created.

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