When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15 (NIV)
You are too close. I am too close to what? You are way too close to what feeds evil desires within you. I’m not sure what you mean by that. How are you most likely to be tempted? Where and when and how are you most vulnerable to temptations? You want me to be aware of my vulnerabilities? Yes, I do. You want me to think about where and when and how I am most likely to be tempted? You got that right. How often have you been tempted by something that was completely unexpected? Not very often. Isn’t it true that most of the time you can predict when, where and how you will be tempted? Yes, that is true. You also know your vulnerabilities quite well, isn’t that true? Yes, that is also true. So, you know exactly what I mean when I say that you are way too close to what feeds evil desires within you. Yes, I guess that I do. You guess? No, I know exactly what you have in mind. What are you going to do about you being too close to what feeds evil desires in you? First, I will need to take a detailed inventory of what I am allowing myself to be close to that is feeding evil desires within me. Then, I will separate myself from anything that is feeding evil desires within me. I will put anything that is feeding evil desires within me on a famine diet. That will be good.
You are not close enough. I am not close enough to what? You are not close enough to what feeds righteous desires within you. I’m not sure what you mean by that. What will strengthen you against temptation? What will make you able to stand against temptation? What have I given you to help you to live the righteous life that I have called you to live? What will fight in you, with you and for you as you face temptations? You have given me your word. Your word will strengthen me again against temptation. Your word will make me able to stand against temptation. Your word will help me to live the righteous life that you have called me to live. Your word will fight in me, with me and for me as I face temptation. That’s right. As you starve what feeds evil desires in you, will you feast on my word that will feed righteous desires in you? Will you resist evil and draw near to me? Yes, Lord, I will. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free to live your life for me. I will make you able to stand against evil. That is exactly what I want.
Lord, I know I cannot stand against temptations to sin with my own strength. I need you to use your word to change my heart and transform my mind so I will have your desire and strength to resist temptations to sin. Do your work in me. I am relying on you. Amen
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