Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)
Resisting temptation is very hard. We are faced with temptation every day, in both big and small ways. The temptation may be something very simple, like a high calorie lunch or a new pair of shoes. Or, it may be something far more difficult with life changing consequences, such as considering adultery or worshiping an idol. Temptation is all around us, in everything we so, everywhere we go and everything we do. It exists in the stores, on television, in our neighborhood and on the internet. Temptation can be a very difficult companion to avoid.
But James writes in this verse on being tested. He speaks to anyone who endures temptation and returns to the theme of being testes and enduring. In contrast to verse 2:8 in which testing produced endurance and endurance produced maturity, here failure to endure produces blaming God, sin and death. Test or trial and temptation translate as the same word, and the context in which they are used determines their translation. The introduction of desire, sin, evil and deception in verses 13-16 has led several current bible translations to shift to temptation, even when the test or temptation remains unspecified. The one who endures temptation receives a blessing that is the crown of life. This concept is repeated in Matthew 5:11-12 and Revelation 2:10 and 3:11.
A really confounding verse, isn’t it? Every time we pray the familiar words of The Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” Perhaps this is all that we can do. We can try to avoid being led into temptation whenever and wherever it exists. We can pray that we may have the strength to resist temptation, even when it seems small, harmless and is easily attained. For, as James (or the writer of this letter) writes, resisting temptation will bring us the crown of life.
Help us to live our lives, O Lord, with the strength to resist temptation and to follow your holy ways. Lead us not into temptation and help us to turn away from it whenever we encounter it. May we, like James teaches, shun temptation and receive the crown of life from God. Help is, loving Jesus, to not be envious or to practice deception, since these are not the ways of God’s people. We ask this to the glory of your holy name.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur
To study this passage in more depth, you might like to read Clark’s Commentary on the Bible.
Columbia Prayer Chain
Thursday, May 3
In our prayers: Patrick Barry, Jordan Hill, Doris Clevenger, Charles Sigel, Joe Reno, Bob Davis, John Whatley, Nancy Zuckerman, Mack James, Charles Davis Sr., Janet Long, Lee Hotaling, Elaine and Sharon, Bill Carter, Betty Peavy Frick, Bob and Karen, Alison Rafferty, Joye Cantrell, Patty and Ted, Fred and Gail,, Mary Miller, Linda L., Dale and Norma Sessions, Padge Arrington, Jerry Callahan, Norman Masters, Laura Bushnell, Edgar Maxwell, Laura Lou Rummans, Elizabeth Adams, Gene Awtrey, John Conde, Millie Husbands, Clyde Ireland, Sam King, Bob Whiteside, Chuck Witten, Raven Tarpley, Elizabeth, DuBose Tuller, Frances Robinson, Janice Ayoub
In memoriam: Bee Gunter Avinger, Charles T. Manley Sr., Betty Barbare, Willis Harland Nolind Jr., Destiny Glover, Pete Pritchard, George Ralph Barnes, Nora Belle Mills Coxe, Thomas E. “Daddy Mac” McLester
Our prayers are with: The elderly and those who care for them, all who volunteer, the homeless, the unemployed, all victims of abuse, all currently fighting illness, all beloved pets, our president and congress, our deputies and police officers, and all who serve in the armed forces
Columbia Prayer Chain is open to all residents of greater Columbia who would like to share prayers and receive the prayers of others. Please leave your name in the comment box below or email me to join our Prayer Chain. It is updated daily.
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