Continuing on with the remainder of James chapter 1… you can find part 1 here.
James 1 is talking about trials and testing of our faith. I will pick up where we left off at verse 13,
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13
So, this time we have:
Trials > Temptation > Desire > Sin > Death
Compare that with Verse 2:
Trials > Joy > Testing of Faith > Steadfastness > Perfect & Complete
Our trials can lead us to either sin or life. When you face a trial, whether it is a hardship or a struggle or whatever you’re going through, you have a choice, to
fall prey to the temptation the trial brings or declare God’s goodness and remain joyful and steadfast. Each will lead you to a different path of life.
The word tempt is peiraz meaning:
to try; make trial; test faith, virtue, character; entice to sin, solicit
The same word is used when referring to Satan, the tempter.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (peiraz) by the devil. Matthew 4:1
And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted (peiraz) by Satan. Mark 1:9
The Pharisees also attempted to test Jesus…
And Pharisees came up to him and tested (peiraz) him by asking… Matthew 19:3
So looking at all of these scriptures that refer to tempting/testing of faith (peiraz), we learn that Satan is the tempter, He is the one who tempts us to sin.
Satan tempts because of our lack of self-control (1 Corinthians 7:5). The key to getting through trials and temptations is to have self-control. We encounter a trial, Satan brings temptation, we need to have self-control (along with all the other fruit of the spirit) to get through it without giving into Satan.
The verse in James I want to focus on is verse 13… 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. This clearly says God does not tempt us or cause us to sin (peiraz).
It’s important to note, though, that this word translated “tempt” (peiraz) is also “testing of our faith, virtue, character and this chapter of James is talking about trials and testing of our faith. We get that God doesn’t try to make us sin but we often say “God is testing our faith”. Verse 13 says, “Let no one say…”I am being tempted (tested) by God”. Think about it, our trials and times we are being tested are times the enemy is soliciting us to sin. He is the tempter. He is tempting us to sin. James says God does not tempt us with evil.
Remember Job? The ultimate story of a man’s faith being tested. Who was it that tested Him? Satan! God allowed it because He knew Job’s faith would lead to steadfastness (James 1:2). God did not bring evil or temptation to Job; however, He did allow Satan to tempt him.
We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted (peiraz) beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
“He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability”… notice it does not say, “He will not tempt you beyond your ability”. He allows it to happen because it will develop our faith and lead to steadfastness. During our trials we need to rebuke the tempter and look to Jesus with unwavering faith.
This also reminds us that God is in control. Even in our trials we know that God is sovereign! There is nothing Satan can do to us that God will not provide a way out. That is comforting to know that God is all-powerful and higher than the enemy who brings attacks. When you’re facing a struggle, trial or attack, remember it’s the enemy and God is providing an escape. He knows what is going on and He is wanting you to seek Him; His gifts are good and perfect (James 1:16)