Previously, James has been talking about trials. These are tests of faith, possibly from God, but more because of our fallen world. They present themselves to us and it is our job to not only endure them, but to learn through them and come out better and stronger than before. When our focus is glorifying God through our trials, we will always emerge victorious and God gets the glory. Hallelujah!!!
This week presented a different scenario and different terminology. The idea of trials is that they are inevitable. James wants to warn his readers that temptation is caused by their own evil desires. Perhaps a large cop-out on our parts as humans is that we are always wanting to shift the blame. Because of our selfishness, we quickly seek to have others be the reason why we do something wrong. Sometimes we even seek to blame God for our short comings. James, immediately, takes the opportunity to dispose of that thinking. “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”
There is a theme here that I finally noticed in these verses that seems to fit with the first part of the chapter and I’m excited to see how long it lasts. That theme is, “Stay the Course.” I realized that this theme was prevalent when I grasped the concept of being dragged away. James, up until now and hopefully later, continuously urges us to persevere, not be blown and tossed by the wind, and, now, not be dragged away. I like the imagery of a path that we are walking. When trials come, we need to persevere. When we ask God to show us the path, we need to not be double-minded. Now we are encouraged to not be dragged away from our path, even by ourselves.
You can see a glimpse of the inner war going on inside of man that Paul eludes to in the end of chapter 7 in Romans. James uses language like “by his own desire” and “dragged away.” I know that in my own life I can be “dragged away” by other people, but only if I first want to engage in sin “by my own evil desire.” Thankfully, Christ’s love compels me to “stay the course.”