James 1:5-8 ESV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
We all need wisdom. We need wisdom every day to make the right kinds of decisions, to choose best over good, to choose good over bad, and to make wise decisions about just about everything we encounter on a daily basis in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And, the source of that wisdom needs to be God, although he may use humans to give us wise counsel, too.
But we shouldn’t seek the counsel of God if we have no intention of doing what he says. If all we are doing is asking for God’s opinion on a matter, and then we are going to decide if we agree with it or not, then why bother? If we don’t trust God to give us wise counsel, then we shouldn’t ask him.
We also shouldn’t ask God for his wisdom if our minds are already made up on the matter, and if we are afraid he might tell us something that disagrees with our opinions, or with our philosophies, traditions, practices and theologies, too.
For, God doesn’t think like we think. If we are looking for a god who is going to agree with us, then we are looking for a god we created ourselves, from our own imaginations, which serves us, rather than us serving him.
So, if we are going to ask God for wisdom, then we need to be ready to receive the wisdom he has for us. We need to be willing to have our thinking challenged, and our theologies shaken to the core. And, we need to be willing to have our whole belief system turned upside down if it is not in line with the truths of Scripture (in context) and with the heart of God.
James 1:13-15 ESV
“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. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
I believe that, biblically speaking, there is evidence that not all temptation is being enticed by our own desires. Jesus was tempted of Satan in three different ways, but I don’t believe it was because Jesus was being enticed by his own desire, for his desire was to do the will of the Father.
Also, Satan tempts dedicated followers of Jesus because they are dedicated followers of Jesus, and he is hoping he can entice us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ. So, he may throw all kinds of things our way which is not in our hearts to do, which is not our desire, but just to taunt us, and in hopes to make us afraid, or to try to get us to give up (Eph. 6:10-20).
But it is true that God does not tempt us to sin, although he allows Satan to tempt us or we wouldn’t be tempted of Satan. He allowed Adam and Eve to be tempted. He didn’t stop Satan (the devil, the serpent) from tempting Eve and then Adam. He could have! He is God! And, He allowed Jesus to be tempted, too, in all the ways in which we are tempted.
But, is it true that temptation is enticement to do what the flesh desires? Yes! And, those under the control of the flesh are more apt to give in to that temptation, too, for Satan already has them in his grasp. He already has convinced them to yield consistently to temptation to sin against God, so they are easy prey for his temptations.
And, those who are being controlled by the flesh, and who are walking (in practice) according to the flesh, and who are regularly yielding to those temptations to do what their sinful flesh desires will die in their sins, even if they profess faith in Jesus Christ, because they refused to die to their sins.
But, for us who are under the control of the Spirit of God, although we will be tempted to sin against God, because we live in flesh bodies, and the flesh is weak, we must know that Jesus died on that cross to deliver us out of slavery to sin and to empower us to live righteous and holy lives, pleasing to God. So, we are not powerless to resist temptation ever! (1 Co. 10:13).
James 1:16-18 ESV
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
The grace of God, in providing for us salvation from sin, is a gift to us from God, as is the faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives. And, it is a gift which we must appropriate to our own lives.
This grace, which brings us salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. And, it provides the way for us to die with Christ to sin so that we are no longer enslaved to sin, but so we are now slaves of God and of his righteousness, created in Christ Jesus for good works, for us to walk in them (Eph. 2:8-10; Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23).
Since God’s grace to us, in providing for us salvation from our sin, is from God, then it is consistent with God’s divine character and his will for our lives. And, that has not changed since the beginning of time.
For, his will for us is that we walk in fellowship with him, in purity of devotion to him, in righteousness and holiness. And, his will for us is that we be not overtaken by sin, and that we not walk in sin, but that by God’s grace we walk in holiness and that we live godly lives, pleasing to God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
So, we should not be deceived by those who would try to teach us that God’s grace merely forgives us our sins, but that his grace does not require repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord. For, every good and every perfect gift is from above, from God, who does not change. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen!
He is a holy God, and he commands us that we must be holy in all our conduct. And, to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made to be like Jesus. And, he says we must be those who bear fruit (produce, results) for his eternal kingdom, too, if we want to see God, if we want to spend eternity with him.
So, just know that we are all going to reap what we sow in this life. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap corruption. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
The Walls Came Tumbling Down
By G. A. Thacker
The Lord is calling, sinner, come to Him today,
Turn from this vain world’s renown;
If you will follow Him in faith, like Joshua,
Walls of sin will tumble down.
Yes, the walls came tumbling down;
Joshua, marched seven times ’round,
Then the walls came tumbling down,
And the walls came tumbling down.
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