James 1:12-15 (Devotional)

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)

I was blessed to know my great-grandfather growing up. I remember on one occasion fishing in a clear water stream in Montana. My great-grandfather was hoping to catch a big trout for dinner. The problem was that even when he put his hook and bait seemingly in front of a large fish, they would not bite. Finally he got fed up and packed his pole to leave. I had the crust left over from my PB and J sandwich and I threw it into the stream. Suddenly fish darted from everywhere and started fighting each other for a bite of my crust. Apparently trout love discarded bread crust from a little boy’s lunch a lot better than the bait my grandfather used…I learned from my grandfather that the secret to fishing is to use bait that appeals to a fish’s appetite. You do not catch fish using just any kind of bait. You have to use bait they like. The fish’s appetite is ultimately what makes them bite into a hook.

Sometimes in the midst of a trial we are tempted to think that God does not have our best interest at heart. We can think that God is “tempting” us to sin. Like God is the one baiting the hook for us. But that is not true. The writer of the book of James reminds us that God does not tempt us, but that temptation comes internally from our own brokenness and desire to sin. Just like a fish biting into a hook we become a victim to our own desires. We can actually trust God in the midst of our temptations. The bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was tempted just like we are, but that He was without sin. That means that we can run to Jesus when we are tempted and He knows exactly how to help us and how to encourage us to overcome our temptation because He has overcome.