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USEFUL TEMPTATIONS  

| SUNDAY 5TH JUNE, 2022

Our Daily Bread 2022 Annual Edition

By Monica La Rose

Read: James 1:2–5, 12–21 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15

Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:21

Fifteenth-century monk Thomas à Kempis, in the beloved classic The Imitation of Christ, offers a perspective on temptation that might be a bit surprising. Instead of focusing on the pain and difficulties temptation can lead to, he writes, “[temptations] are useful because they can make us humble, they can cleanse us, and they can teach us.” Kempis explains, “The key to victory is true humility and patience; in them we overcome the enemy.”

Humility and patience. How different my walk with Christ would be if that were how I naturally responded to temptation! More often, I react with shame, frustration, and impatient attempts to get rid of the struggle.

But, as we learn from James 1, the temptations and trials we face don’t have to be without purpose or merely a threat we endure. Although giving in to temptation can bring heartbreak and devastation (vv. 13–15), when we turn to God with humble hearts seeking His wisdom and grace, we find He “gives generously to all without finding fault” (v. 5). Through His power in us, our trials and struggles to resist sin build perseverance, “so that [we] may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4).

As we trust in Jesus, there’s no reason to live in fear. As God’s dearly loved children, we can find peace as we rest in His loving arms even as we face temptation.

Read: James 1:2–5

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Listening and Doing

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

INSIGHT

  1. How might an attitude of humility and patience change how you respond to a current temptation or struggle?

  2. How is it freeing?

James begins his letter to dislocated and troubled followers of Jesus by urging them to ask for wisdom in living as His followers (1:5, 19–22). But how will they recognize such divine help? After briefly discussing a series of difficult relational challenges, James describes a wisdom grounded in humility rather than self-centeredness (3:13–16). Wisdom from God is peace-loving, considerate, willing to listen, full of mercy and goodness, and without prejudice or hypocrisy (v. 17).

PRAYER

Jesus, I’m saddened when I realize how often I try to face life’s temptations and struggles on my own—as if I’m self-sufficient, as if I don’t need You. Thank You for Your unending love and patience with me. In Jesus Holy I pray and believe. Amen!!

Read: James 1:2–5, 12–21 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 23–24; John 15

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