whytheology

For the Intersection of the Everyday and the Sacred

James 1:13-15 (Lent Readings)

Passage

KJV below (link to NIV here)

13 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:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Comment

Too often we want to excuse the things we do (or don’t do). I know I have a hard time sometimes (okay often) taking responsibility for my action or inaction. James addresses that idea here. We can’t lay the blame on God. Yes God created you, but that does not make God directly responsible for your sin. You only have yourself to blame. We were made free. The downside to freedom, that people tend not to talk about, is that we only have ourselves to blame. We desire things, regardless of where that came from it is undeniable that it is our own desire, and so (since it has its source in us) we have the choice to either give into the desire or to overcome. Make no mistake, God will help us overcome, but only if we ask him (see surrounding verses). Then a progression is laid out. If we let ourselves be “drawn away” by this desire (notice the passive nature of it) it has a chance to give birth to something else. Again, the language of birthing is intentional, conveying that “it takes two to tango.” It’s not just desire, but our cooperation with the desire, that leads to sin. The final progression, then, is that sin leads to death. Every sin kills us a little bit, and every sin, if allowed to mature, seals our fate as dead people.

Question

Do you have trouble accepting responsibility for your actions? Are you always looking for some excuse that somehow makes it “not quite as bad”? What do you make of the passive being “drawn away” in relation to desire and sin?

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