Are you in a love-hate relationship? (James 1 cont.)

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death

James 1:13-15 NLT

Earlier this week, we had a discussion on how to respond to trials that affect us from the outside. Also we learned that the words trials and temptations come from the same greek root word Peirasmos, which means “an experiment, trial or testing”.

Trials come from outside, while temptations come from within us. As James states, “temptations come from within us, which entice us and drag us away”.

The modern church sometimes gives the devil too much credit. Every time something goes wrong, or we don’t get along with someone we immediately assume the devil and his minions are behind it all. It’s just nonsense to believe that. I wonder how many Christians today are ascribing all their problems to the devil. Lets just take a random number. Lets just say in America, five thousand Christians at this very moment, in different states, thousands of miles away from each other are stating that the devil himself is attacking them. That would mean the devil could be at more than one place at the same time, or what theologians would describe as being “omnipresent”. An attribute that only God can have.

So is the devil as powerful as God? Absolutely not! He is a created being, just like the angels and humans and every animal in existence, so why do Christians constantly think the devil is on their shoulders, around every corner, behind every trouble they face? Well, for one they probably don’t finish the verse that we just read in James, how God doesn’t tempt anyone, so they immediately assume any evil must come from the devil.

This is a lie, because the Bible says that we can’t even trust our own hearts. Jesus spoke about the heart of man numerous times, saying things like

19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.

Matthew 15:19 NLT

If you’re having trouble in your relationships with other people, perhaps it’s YOU that is causing it (or at least a good portion of it). Maybe you can’t stand working with someone who’s in charge of you, you can never get along with him or her. You constantly disagree with everything and anything that they say, and you think you can do it better.That your ideas will work. Let me give you a tip. “Be the employee that you would want to hire”.

If you were in charge of a team, would you want a team that trusted your judgment? A team that did what you asked? Who had a servants heart and made life easier for you?

Or would it be a nightmare if you imagined leading a team who acted exactly like you?

hmmmmm……

Leadership guru, John C. Maxwell once pointed out “just because you are religious, doesn’t mean you can’t have a bad attitude”

Too many times Christians can be blinded by their own poor work ethic, bad attitude, or poor team player qualities simply because they love God and they think they aren’t as bad as someone else down the road or even in the church. Listen, in Gods eyes, even our good works are filthy rags to Him. We were once enemies of God, children of wrath. So don’t let your good works drown out the places you could improve upon.

Temptations come from within us. We are challenged according to our level of maturity and character. So if we are having trouble with authority, perhaps we haven’t matured in the area of “serving”, or if we are broke all the time, perhaps we haven’t matured in the area of “finances”. Or are we having trouble with getting people to agree with us and to be a team player? Perhaps we haven’t invested our hearts in their lives, actually caring and willing to add value to them.  Consider it a blessing, that God hasn’t given you into your sin, but is allowing you to have trouble and you notice it. Its opportunity to grow as leader, as a Christian.

Temptations come from within, they are according to our own desires. Our desires, lead to sin, which leads to death. Its about what WE love. Do we love serving? Do we love investing time into others? Do we love entrusting others with work? Do we love building up others? Do we love….God?

or

Do we love getting the attention? Do we love having it our way? Do we love ourselves more than others? Do we love our agenda? Do we love…sin?

Lets talk about this.

Spread the light: Be the light

C.James

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