God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Dear God, what does it look like to patiently endure testing and temptation? In think, in this context, James isn’t talking about gluttony, lust, drunkenness, etc. I think the context here is extreme religious persecution. Being patient as people who persecute me test my faith. Being strong as they tempt me to reject you. So it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Settle in. Be patient.
Then, verse 15 brings a whole different bit of insight: “And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” Sin being allowed to grow is an incredibly insidious thing. It can ultimately destroy me and those I love. My life is a garden that must be constantly tended and weeded. It is spring time right now. The grass is coming out, but so are the weeds. I I allow them to grow unfettered, they will completely mess up the landscaping we are trying to cultivate.
I was thinking on the way home about the balance of worship/meditation/studying/contemplation. A life full of just one or two of any of these things will not be full. If I study about you, but never worship you, will I really know the God I’m studying. If I worship, but never study, will I know the God I’m worshiping? There is a balance that involves my heart, mind, body and soul. All four must touch you if I’m going to have a shot at knowing you.
Father, this has been a little disjointed, but I want you to know I love you, I’m grateful for you, and I want to know you more. Please guide me on this path, and please heal the wounds on my heart so that I can let go of my self-pity and completely worship you without getting my own selfishness and insecurity in the way.
In Jesus’s name pray,