Testing vs Tempting

This past week I read the book of James in the Bible.  I ran across an interesting passage while reading that is perfect for some discussion today.  Before we get into discussion, let’s all get caught up. Check out James 1:12-14:

“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.”

So what is this saying?  Let’s start with temptation.  Here it says God doesn’t tempt us, therefore we should not cry out to God “God, why are you tempting me” whenever we feel enticed by a desire that distances us from God.  God doesn’t put ‘temptations’ in our path to derail us and hurt us.  The situations that we encounter in life that we struggle with simply are not temptations.

BUT.

What about testing?  Does God test people?  Think about the story of Job.  The story goes that God and Satan have a little chat and Satan challenges God saying that because God is so protective and giving to Job, Job loves God.  But take away what Job has and he will curse God.  So Job 1:12 shares “”All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan.”

Does God allow us to be tested? I think he does sometimes.  If life was easy, we weren’t responsible for our sins, and there were no challenges, we would have no desire or need for faith.  God doesn’t test us so we can fail, God tests us to build our faith and bring us together to support each other.

If you’re undergoing testing or a trial, build up your faith.  Spend extra time with God in prayer and reading your spiritual literature, especially your Bible.  Share your challenges with friends, your rabbi/pastor or someone else so they can help you get through the test with flying colors.

I encourage you to share your thoughts below…

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