Have you ever heard this phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle”? NOT true. In our passage today we find some rather interesting aspects of God (in relation to us) which fly in the face of some peoples’ understanding of God and this phrase in particular. I want you to really spend some time in prayer before dwelling on these aspects.
We will begin by bringing forth different truths of God spoken about in this passage and then look at truths pertaining to us.
- First, God is not tempted. It is important to note here that this reference does not pertain to Jesus temptation while on earth, but rather, James wants us to see how God is above the evil of the world.
- Second, God does not tempt people. This is RADICAL my friends. Temptations and situations come our way – that’s just a fact because of the world we live in. These are ALLOWED by God out of his desire for humanity to have free will (among other reasons) but our temptations do not originate from God. Often they come from one of two places – our “fleshly desires” or Satan (who likes to try and tempt us at times). Think about the Lord’s prayer – “lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil (or the evil one).” God may allow us to be tempted but we must cry out and ask him to help us avoid those areas of our life where temptation may be found and where evil may be present!
- Third, every act of giving and every perfect gift is from God. Our lives are a gift of God. True perfect love (not the American concept of “love”) is from God. The ability to give itself is from God. This concept is similar in some ways to what John Wesley called Prevenient Grace. This is the grace God has given us which goes before us. This is the grace of God which brings people to a place where they can accept Jesus. This is God giving Himself and pursuing us before we EVER seek to pursue Him.
What does it mean to you that every act of giving and every perfect/good gift is from God??
How does God sometimes give you more than you can handle? How does God’s giving us His strength come into play?
- First – temptation will come BUT we are to endure and not fall into this struggle. This isn’t to say that we may not fall again but our heart should be striving to NOT fall into temptation. All of this perseverance is worth it – you are considered blessed now in your resolve and you will receive the crown of life in the future!
- Second – temptation often comes through our own selfish desires which, in and of themselves are not sin. The problem is that when we give in to our ungodly, selfish desires they often give birth to sin. If we do not the regularly squelch these unhealthy, ungodly desires then this sin (which comes forth) will give rise to death in our lives. I do not mean here that you will die. No, James is pointing out that through regular sinning such as this you cannot have the “abundant life” Jesus desires to give us beginning now!
- Third – We have been given a new “birth” through the truth of Christ (18) and as a result we are now considered God’s first fruits. This means those who believe in the truth of the Gospel, endure temptation and press on in holiness are considered God’s greatest fruit – the best of the best. I don’t know about you but I desire to be part of God’s first fruits!
Where are you tempted? How can you endure temptation and avoid sinning? Do you need help avoiding temptation? If so, first spend substantial time with the Lord and second, contact a Christian mentor to help.
Are you currently living abundantly? Why or why not?
Do you know that God loves you so much he desires you to be part of His first fruits, his best of the best? How does this make you feel?