Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:12–15, ESV)
So here’s the distinction: God does not tempt us to sin, but he will test and try us. When Satan tempts us to sin, his goal is our failure and bondage. When God tries us through times of testing his goal is spiritual sturdiness and freedom (remember James 1:2-3?).
The distinction may seem small, but it’s actually rather large. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy and crush you. He loves to see us wallow in the lusts of our flesh and delights when we buy the pain that he’s selling.
On the other hand, God wants to see you mature and grow. His goal is for pure gold to emerge through the refiner’s fire (1 Peter 1:6-7). His plan is for us to develop the important qualities of perseverance and faithfulness. Just like the athlete who’s running the race in hopes of an Olympic metal, God rewards those who run the race of their Christian life with grace-fueled determination (v. 12).
Sin is a very real threat to our running the race in a God-glorifying way, but he gives us an inside peak at sin’s plan of attack in our lives in verses 13-15:
1. Lured and enticed by own desires
3. giving in leads to sin
4. sin leads to death
Not exceptionally complicated but effective and deadly.
Stay on the racetrack today and be ever mindful of Satan’s devices!