Temptation…

Now that I have your attention…

I can remember vividly every single time up to this point where God has answered an earnest prayer of mine with something that blew my mind- some scripture that meant something new, or a prayer answered that I’d completely forgotten about. And I allowed those experiences to govern much of my relationship with God. If I didn’t feel a special breeze, see the sky open up and turn pink, or hear His still small voice, I immediately thought something was wrong.

1) If your faith in Jesus is founded on emotion or experiences, you’re in a dangerous place.

2) If you don’t believe in Jesus period, you’re in a dangerous place.

James, Jesus’ brother (Yes,Jesus had siblings y’all, Mary got her life after that virgin birth) rose to prominent leadership after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven. At this time, the church was composed predominantly of Jews who’d come to accept Jesus as the prophesied savior they’d been waiting on, and started calling themselves Christians after some time. Naturally, there were some issues to address in his letter addressed to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”, or the Jews.

TEMPTATION is an issue common to the human experience, and James pointed out that GOD DOES NOT TEMPT US, but as verse 14 of Chapter 1 says, “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Think of how that something that slips you up knows just how to sing sweet songs to you, and you follow…and you end up staying longer than you ever imagined, and then you’re being dragged when you start to fight back…So how does Jesus fit into this?

You must be born again to defeat the innate sin nature so that you are able to deny sinful desires. My friend Nicodemus looked at Jesus like he lost his mind when he told him so, but its really simple guys. On Mount Sinai, God made a deal with Moses, and the Israelites whom we know as Jews. The deal, or covenant relationship, was based on the keeping of laws. You keep these laws, because ya’ll like to act crazy, and I’ll be your God, you’ll be my people. But what was the purpose of the law?

The purpose of the law was to REVEAL the fact that we are sinful in the first place. If God didn’t command “thou shalt not steal”, you wouldn’t know that stealing was a sin. And to be frank, you don’t have to teach a toddler to be selfish, you have to teach him/her to share. But Romans 7:5 says that when we’re governed by what our bodies want, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

The law not only points out that we have sin, but even arouses sin because of our love for forbidden things. Sin now springs to life and we’re basically dead in our decisions. We let it run the show.

The law holds power over someone when they are alive, like Paul the apostle says in Romans 7. You’re bound to your husband in faithfulness until he dies, then you can marry another freely. Your agreement is over. But if you only step out on him while he’s still alive, you need to hide madam.

In the same way we’re bound to the law until death, UNLESS someone dies in your stead. And that’s what Jesus did. The law was meant to produce holiness in the lives of the Jews, so that God could be with them. God is holy, and he WILL NOT dwell with unholiness. Because he loved us, he needed to find a way to make us holy so that we could be together. The law showed them that they were sinful, and we needed God to help us be holy -meaning set apart and for sacred use. So Jesus came to live the law perfectly. Romans 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh (when he was crucified and died), in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live anymore according to the flesh!

Jesus fulfilled the law’s requirements for you! Where the law was supposed to make you holy but only really pointed out how unholy you were, Jesus did it for you. Now you can accept His holiness, and the consequences of sin no longer are yours.

When you accept Jesus for who He is, God’s son and your savior from the wrath that rightfully belonged to you for being a (Insert sin here), His Holy Spirit can now dwell in you, and teach you to live a life that pleases God. Cleansed from sin, human nature is irrelevant because you have God’s nature, which overrides sin. You don’t have to sin! Excuse me while I praise dance.

In Jesus, you’ve automatically met the righteous requirements of the law, by no longer allowing the flesh to hold sway, but yielding in faith to the Spirit of God’s leadership.

Jeremiah 31:31 “The days are coming”, declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant, with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah…because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them.” “…I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.”

To better promises,

R.