“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (CSB).
Temptation is not sin. It is a testing of my faith—a test to see if I live before people or before God—a test if I fear God or not. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. To have sin means that we have sinful lusts and desires. But by being faithful when I am tempted, I can destroy the devil who has the power of death. Therefore, I can really rejoice when I come into temptation.
When I am being tempted
“Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. If people are tempted by such trials, they must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But people are tempted when they are drawn away and trapped by their own evil desires. Then their evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:12-15 (GNB).
You must not give in to temptation in your trials, you must die to those things that you are tempted to. If you accuse your brother, it has an effect on your spirit. Then you cannot be alive to God. When you are alive to God, you love your brother and do not accuse him!
Everyone who accepts the exhortations in the Bible is alive to God. No matter how unpleasant a person is, he cannot force sins like anger, impatience, irritation, etc., into another person. In other words, it is never someone else’s fault. The sin in your own flesh, in your own sinful nature, has been awakened by the things that happen. If you then begin to blame other people in your thoughts, you have fallen in sin and have not been faithful in the temptation.
I don’t have to sin!
Even though I have sin, I do not have to fall in sin. Temptation is a testing of my faith. This is a very exciting life. Even though I have sin in my flesh, in my sinful nature, I do not have to do sin!
“Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14 (NRS). Death is a great disappointment for many people because it puts an end to all their human plans. We can win eternal life by not giving in to temptation. Jesus came to free all those who were slaves to sin all their life because they feared death.
Jesus – our High Priest
“For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:16-18 (NIV). He had to become like His brothers! Isn’t that simple? When we suffer in the flesh, when we suffer by not giving in to sin, then we also stop with sinning. Jesus’ spirit was never corrupted by the sin in His flesh. What an amazing High Priest we have!