Where are Your Desires Leading You: (James 2 Verses at a Time)
What do you desire? Cain desired God’s acceptance but his sacrifice was rejected. This made Cain angry. God confronted Cain about his anger and warned him that sin was crouching at his door. He must subdue it or it would become his master. Instead of listening to God’s wisdom, Cain killed his brother. Somehow he thought that would give him what he wanted. Moses desired a people who would listen to him and God. In his anger over their unbelief, he struck the rock and canceled his ticket to the promised land. David was lonely and desired companionship. This desire led to adultery, murder, and the death of a son. In James 1: 14-15, it says..
Temptation comes from our own desires which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
In the proceeding verses, we are told that temptation does not come from God. Where does it come from? It comes for our own desires which entice us and drag us away. We know desires are not all bad. In Psalm 37: 4 it tells us if we delight in the Lord that he will give us our heart’s desires. But then again in Jeremiah, we are told that the heart is deceitful so how can our desires be good? In week two of her James study, Beth Moore points out the correlation between verses 3-4 with verses 14-15. In the first we have testing which leads to patiently enduring which leads to being mature and fully developed. In the second, we have temptation which leads to desire which leads to sin. The first leads to life while the second leads to death. Temptation will come. Some days I will give in. Other days I will endure and make the right choices. Here are some observations.
1. I need to take every thought captive. (II Cor. 10:5)
I don’t know about you but my mind can come up with some crazy things. I think one thing which leads to another and then all of a sudden I am mad or sad or frustrated. I let my desire for control or acceptance lead me down a path towards saying things I should not say or doing things I will regret later. What a difference it makes when I take a thought captive and put it up next to God’s word which leads to my next point. This is one way I can patiently endure.
2. I need to be in God’s word.
3. I need to remember that only God can give me the desires of my heart.
4. Sometimes I need to run from temptation.
5. I Do Have a Choice to NOT Sin
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show a way out so that you can endure.
I love that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can handle. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to endure. I have a choice not to sin. Sometimes seeing this choice is hard. Sometimes I don’t see it because I am not looking. I also hate this verse because I do not have an excuse. I can’t blame it on the the circumstance, someone else or even the devil. God has set before us life and death. I pray we can choose the way that leads to life.
Dear God, Thank you that you give us the strength to endure. Help me to see the desires of my heart that are enticing me and dragging me away from you. Show me a better way. Help me set good boundaries and see the way out. May I know when to stand and fight and when to run. God, I want my life to be a shining light for you here in this land. May I cling to you and your word in the good times and the bad. Amen.