Drawn Away and Enticed (Part 1)
Last week we began a series of lessons on the book of James. We studied 1:1-12 and saw that trials (life's afflictions) are designed to make Christians mature. We should, therefore, rejoice in trials. We all need wisdom to recognize this, and God will supply it if we seek it. Our faith, however, must be stable and without doubt, or we will receive nothing from the Lord. We must not allow outward circumstances to change our status with God. Patient endurance will lead us to a crown of life.

In verse 13, James wrote - "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone." A significant change has occurred here in the text. Previously, James had been talking primarily about trials; that is, afflictions that provide outward opportunities to sin. But, now he starts talking about temptations; that is, the inner desire to sin.

Evidently, some people in the first century had a tendency to blame God for their sins. They would make excuses for their transgressions by saying: "God put me in this difficult situation; He allowed this to happen to me. Basically, He made me sin." People haven't changed much, have they? Adam tried to blame God for his own sin in Genesis 3:12, when he said - "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." Even today people blame God and others for their sins. For example, how many homosexuals claim: "God made me this way!"? Friends, it is simply not true. God would not forbid homosexuality in the Scriptures and then force certain men and women to practice it!

I Corinthians 10:13 is an excellent passage to complement James' thoughts here - "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." There is no such thing as being forced into committing sin. There is always a way out of temptation. God has given His word.

So, James 1:13 basically teaches that God is beyond temptation. He is not susceptible to evil, and He doesn't tempt us in any way. Yes, He does test us, as He did Abraham (Heb. 11:17). He does allow us to suffer afflictions and difficulties in order for us to mature, but that is much different than saying God tries to seduce us to sin!

James 1:14 reveals the primary causes of temptation - "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed."

We've seen that it is incorrect and downright blasphemous to say that God makes us sin; I believe it is also incorrect to say that Satan makes us sin! Now listen carefully. I'm not saying that Satan doesn't play a role in our temptations, clearly He does. What I am saying is that even though Satan may tempt us to sin, he can't force us to do anything against our will. James 4:7 proves that point - "Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

Perhaps you're wondering: "How does Satan tempt us to sin?" It appears that he merely uses our own desires to draw us away from the path of righteousness and entice us to sin! That's what James 1:14 states!

We'll consider some more thoughts on this subject tomorrow.