For today's reflection, "Victors, not Victims," on James 1:13-16a (14 mins), click play below.
- The trials of chapter 1 probably refer to persecution.
- Don’t give up! When we give up, we are letting our lives be defined by our particular temptations and sins.
- In Christ we can overcome
- Note: temptations are not sins. The sin is what we decide to do about the temptation. As Martin Luther was fond of saying, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair”!
- In ancient religions the gods were often blamed for human temptations. The Bible roundly rejects this notion.
- James likens the process of temptation to biological growth: conception, pregnancy, delivery, growth and maturity.
- Yes, life is messy (trials, suffering, perseverance), yet it is not so hard that we are without hope—provided we have the right perspective (not thinking too highly of ourselves, nor too lowly), relying on the one who fits us for the life to which he has called us.
- Don’t cave in. Don’t give in to temptation. Gen 4.
- We are all laden with different temptations (anger, temper; lust; alcoholism, other chem dependencies; envy, jealousy; gossip, slander; taking false credit; ungracious speech...) Let's not let these define us. Rather, through Christ we can rise above the fleshly (animal) level to the spiritual.
- Do I take responsibility when under pressure, or do I excuse myself? Is my tendency to look for someone else to blame, or do I own up to my own failures?
- Do I have the sense of God’s guiding hand, his purifying presence, his wisdom as I go through my day? God is in control!
- God doesn’t work in our lives (through testing) to ruin us, but to prove and improve us.
Next: God’s Perfect gifts