Thursday, August 11, 2005

Is God to blame for our struggles? A look at James 1:13a

Question: Can God be blamed for our struggles?

There is nothing more common among human beings than to lay the blame for a mistake on someone else. And this is exactly what James is dealing with in this verse. Whenever you lay the blame for your sin on someone else you are really blaming God. If we look at the very first sin we will see a good example of this. We are all familiar with the account, but take a close look at what Adam says in Genesis 3:12.

"The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

Adam not only blames Eve for his sin, but also blames God for his sin because God gave him Eve. Do you see what Adam was doing? Adam was willing to do anything to avoid taking responsibility for his sin. He went so far as to blame God for giving him a wife (the same wife that he was so thankful for in 2:23: Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." ). Adam tried to justify his own sin, and in the process his left the responsibility for his sin on the shoulders of the Holy God. Don’t do that! Take James’ advice, and let no one say that God is the ultimate cause of my sin. When we are tempted in the midst of a trial that God has brought into our lives it is not God’s fault.

The temptation that James is talking about here is the temptation to abandon the faith because of earthly trials (these is seen clearly when looking at the context of James chapter 1). Are we not just like Adam if we blame God for our temptation? God gave Adam a good thing, Eve, and Adam used that gift from God as an excuse for his sin. God has given us trials as a gift so that we might grow closer to him. He has ordained trials for our good, yet we want to use these gifts from God as an excuse for our lack of faith. Although the trial itself is ordered by God for our good the inner temptation to evil come from within. When we are being tempted it is not because God has put a trial in our life. When we are being tempted it is because we are willing to disobey God.

James has no patience for this kind of attitude that tries to justify sins. We have all heard the excuses: I had to steal to feed myself; my turbulent marriage led me to alcohol; my parents put me in a situation where I had to disobey them; etc. This is the wrong response. The truth of the matter is that our own sinfulness if the cause of our temptation. What God meant for good, our sinful minds turned into a temptation to doubt God. What follows in verses 13b thru 15 are clear reasons why God does not tempt man.

In the following days we will continue to look at James 1:13-15. We will see that God cannot be tempted by evil; God does not tempt men to evil; man is enticed and carried away by his own lust; and man's lust result in sin which leads to death.

If you want to see how God has given the gift of trials for your good look no farther than 1 Peter 1:6-9:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


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