Don't Blame God, Accept Responsibility (James 1:13-15)

No one undergoing a trial should say, "I am being tempted by God," since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn't tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.
-James 1:13-15

God does not tempt us to sin.  We should not say this.  Do not blame God for your temptations.  

We are tempted by our own desires.  We have paths in our hearts (inroads), that we take to sin.  And we have vulnerable areas where we are tempted.

We have to take responsibility for our desires that tempt us.  We are all broken people, in need of healing.  The deeper the wound, the deeper the healing.  The greater the sin in our life, the greater the grace.

We are all on a healing journey.  Born into brokenness and responsible for our own lives, no matter how shattered it was when we came to Jesus.

He is doing an inner work, to change our desires.  But it only works if we work with the Lord and get healed.

When we blame, we never get better.  To get better, more whole and healed, to be transformed; we must take responsibility.  

Those same desires in our brokenness that can become paths to temptation, sin, and death are places in our hearts that we need to invite God into, to begin healing.

When we blame God for our temptations and eventual sin and death, we are practicing a religion that we invent to bring God down to our level.  And that is a false religion.  

The authentic gospel is that God comes and enters into our lives for reconciliation, redemption, and transformation; so that we don't have to and don't want to sin any more.

And salvation is an event and a process in your life.  How sad to see the old Christian with very little transformation, who is constantly tempted by their untransformed desires.  This is why authentic church life is when we all have opportunities for truth sharing and reconciling our brokenness through body ministry instead of intellectual ascent without healing.

Don't blame God.  To do so is the stay stuck.  Accepting full responsibility is the door to life.

Accepting responsibility is not self-shaming either.  It is truth and faith.

To accept responsibility is to turn to God, in faith, for salvation, based on God's love.

The antidote to temptation is God.  Maybe a thousand times a day we are tempted and a thousand times, we turn our desires to God.

The self-discipline is are we going to take that desire and cultivate it, be captivated by it; or turn to God?

Rather than imagining that the desire that tempts you and therefore the temptation is from God, turn to God when the desire arises.  This will challenge you, challenge your heart, challenge your brokenness; like preaching the gospel to it.

A man, woman, boy, or girl gets saved; but they still have evil desires.  This is a paradox and reality.  This is not a problem for God.

The problem comes when we deny this or pretend it isn't true, or we simply blame God and theologize our brokenness.  We become our greatest enemies and live in restriction from healing and wholeness that is self-imposed.  James says, "don't do it", "don't blame God".  

Accept responsibility for your life, your desires, and for how and what you are tempted by.  Then turn to God, over and over and over, and live in a healing life-process; with God.


My notes from Thomas Constable and William Barclay:

  • God is never the source of temptation. 
  • He does not try to get us to sin, even though some people blame God for their sins. 
  • He Himself is not even subject to temptation because He is totally separate from sin and not susceptible to evil. 
  • The only sense in which God is responsible for sin is that He permits other things to tempt us, namely, the world, the flesh, and the devil (cf. Job 1—2). James did not mention this here.

  • James did not imply that God does lead us into temptation. 
  • His point was that He can help us stay away from it. 
  • Jesus said that we should ask God to allow us to experience as little temptation as possible: "Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38). 
  • James was not contradicting Jesus’ teaching.

  • From the beginning (Adam and Eve), it has been our habit to blame others for our sin.  Adam blamed Eve and she blamed the serpent.
  • While there is the, "devil made me do it", evasion of responsibility; maybe the most common excuse is blaming God, or saying, "I was just born this way".
  • James says, "stop it!" (rebukes)
  • Rather than blaming God we need to recognize that we are responsible when we yield to temptation, not God. 
  • There is nothing in God that responds positively to sin, but there is much in us that does.