By Kyle Remnant (Youth Ministry Co-Coordinator at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren (PA))
James 1:12-18 “…do not be deceived…”
“Blessed is anyone who endures temptation.” The opening sentence gives us the two important parts to this passage: temptation and blessing. Temptation is the desire to want or do something that is usually wrong or unwise. Being tempted is not necessarily bad. It is human nature to desire certain things. Giving in to temptation is where we find ourselves in trouble. As James says in verse 15, “when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.” That’s the bad news. But there is good news!
The scripture begins with a frequently used, but underappreciated word in today’s world. The best translation we have for the word “blessed” is “happy”, but when we talk about being truly blessed, we really mean a sense of deep gratitude and joy. An example: tacos make me happy, but God gives me great joy. James tells us that anyone who endures temptation, anyone who overcomes the things that separate them from God, will find deep joy. It is a blessing for us to know that God will not deceive us. Overcoming our temptations offers us an opportunity to grow closer to our God, from whom all blessings flow.
Good News: God will never deceive us! We find deep joy in choosing God over our temptations.
Discussion Question: What are some of the temptations in your life that pull you away from God?
Go one step further: Lent isn’t the only time we can give something up. Go a whole day without the distractions of your phone, tablet, computer, or TV. Disconnect from technology so you can connect more with God.