This devotional is about James 1.
The core problem when we are tempted to sin is about choosing what is good. Sin offers us good things; not things that are morally good but things that feel good.
- Cheating on an exam feels good; you get a good grade without working for it and get the feeling of outwitting your clueless teacher.
- Lying when you are late to work or when you get caught doing something wrong feels good because it allows you to avoid accountability for what you did.
- Stealing something feels good because you get the value without having to work or sacrifice for it.
- Slandering someone you don’t like feels good because it gives you a chance to spill all the negative thoughts and feelings you have toward that person.
This is what temptation offers to us. It offers us immediate pleasure or immediate relief from pain. It tells us that sinning will be good. It promises that we’ll be better off taking a moral shortcut than doing the right thing which is often hard to do.
After James explains the process of temptation in James 1:13-15, he urges us not to take the bait offered by temptation. Temptation offers good feelings, but that is a trick. That’s why James says in verse 16, “Don’t be deceived.” When you are tempted to sin, remember that the temptation is a trick, it is a scam. Don’t fall for it.
Instead, according to verse 17, we must remember in temptation that God is the source of all good things–real good things. Verse 17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” The best things in life are gifts from God and they never, ever come through sinning. So, when we are tempted, James wants us to remind ourselves to trust God and follow his ways, because he is always good. Our salvation is one early evidence of God’s goodness (v. 18).
Each of us will encounter some kind of temptation today. When it happens, remember this: sin is a trick, a shortcut that promises pleasure but never delivers the good thing it offers without a severe, hidden price. Since we know how good God is because of our salvation, we must trust that obedience to his word in temptation will lead us to better outcomes than the scammy shortcuts of sin.