Testing versus Tempting

James 1:12-17 – “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Does God tempt us? In Genesis 22:1 it says, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” However, the word “tempt” here does not mean what you think it does – it actually means “to test or try” in the original language. Don’t believe me? Look it up. I use the Strong’s Dictionary and concordance app all the time. It is a reliable source, trusted by thousands. 

Anyway, in these verses in James, we learn that God cannot tempt us because tempting can lead to evil. God test us. He tries us. Just like when a metal worker wants to purify the metal he is working with, he puts it into fire. The fire drives out all the impurities. What is left is stronger and ready to be molded into whatever the metalsmith desires. Sometimes God has to put us in the fire to purify us and make us stronger. He has to remove all the problems and sins that keep us from serving Him purely and righteously. And being purified hurts soemtimes. It is no fun. But the alternative is even worse – separation from Him. You see, God wants to mold us and make us into His beautiful creation, but we allow other things to get in the way. Oh, God can use those other things in one way or another, but sometimes He chooses to get rid of them to make us into His ultimate design, not our own. 

And when He is finished, we are transformed into something amazing. We are made into a new gift for the world. A gift that has the potential to transform others and bring Him even more honor and glory.

So this week when you are going through the fire, when it’s all hitting the fan, when things can’t possibly get any worse, just remember – fire is for purifying. He is making you into something new. You need to determine if what you are going through is because of sin (temptation) or because of purifying (testing). And the only way you can determine that is to talk to Jesus. He has all the answers. He will let you know if you are facing the choice of sin or if you are being encouraged to become more pure for Him to work in your life. Growth is hard. Growth is sometimes painful. Growth is challenging. But growth is worth it. 

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