Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. (James 1:14)
True confession: I’m never tempted to do the right thing.
I’ve never been tempted to be honest, but I have been tempted to be dishonest. I’ve never been tempted to be generous—but I have been tempted to be greedy. I’ve never been tempted to be faithful or or to remain pure—but I have been tempted to be unfaithful and impure.
You see, the temptation to do the wrong thing always seems to be right there. It’s one of those struggles we all face because of the fallen state of our world. Temptation tries to get us to see the bait, but blind us to the trap. James reminds us that these tempting moments come from our own desires. They can even come from good, godly desires. It’s simply when we fulfill those desires in ungodly ways that we give in and take the wrong path.
You see this especially in Jesus’ temptation. Jesus was tempted to eat because he had been fasting was hungry. So Satan encouraged him to turn stones into bread. This temptation to use power in self-fulfilling ways, however, was a baited trap. Jesus could have fulfilled a natural desire to eat, but it would have been the wrong way. Similarly, there was a desire to prove himself as the Son of God, and to obtain a status of power as ruler of the whole world in the following temptations. But the routes Satan was tempting Jesus to take were the wrong paths to fulfill each of those desires.
Today, I challenge you to look at your areas of temptation. Where are you tempted most? Where have you seen the bait, but been blind to the trap? Jesus was one who stood the test of temptation. He saw the traps for what they were. May God give you the wisdom and the strength to see the traps in your life.