Summary: We give credit to God for much but, we should never give credit to God for Tempting us. Rather the credit should go to God for helping us through our temptations, tests and trials.
Temptations, Trials and Tests:
Text: Genesis 22:1-18
Text: Mark 1:9-15
JOKE: I am going to lay claim to this joke because I have never heard anyone else tell it. So blame me first if you shake your head after hearing it. Here it goes: Did you know that cars existed in the days of Jesus? It is true! Scripture makes it clear to us that “after Jesus was Baptized, the Spirit immediately drove him out into the dessert.
So actually I should give God the credit for that joke. We give God a ton of credit. We credit him with the creation of this world. We credit him with the blessings we have received. We praise him because he gave us his only Son and we thank him for the faith we now own by way of the Holy Spirit. We credit God that the Bible is His inspired Word. We credit God when our church truly becomes a HOUSE OF PRAYER and we thank him for the opportunities he provides to make a difference in the lives of others in this world. Yes, there are many reasons why we give credit to God but, there is a time to actually stop crediting God. There is a time when God does not deserve any credit. Do I have your attention with that last sentence? Are you wondering what could possibly exempt us from crediting God?
Although God deserves credit for our faith, our love, our life, our spiritual growth, our ministry and our trust, what God absolutely does not deserve credit for is when we fall into temptation and sin. James tells us this very clearly when he says, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”
You might find that particular scripture verse difficult to swallow. After all, didn’t God create us with desire, with passion, with feeling? Did he also not allow sin to enter into this world? Could he not have waved his hand and destroyed sin or even the opportunity for sin to grow? Could God have simply not created that tree of good and evil? Could he have not given Adam and Eve the option of saying, “you can eat of any tree in the garden but, this one?” Isn’t that sort of like putting out a tray of warm cookies in front of starving children and saying do not touch?
It is difficult to understand how God is not the one tempting us when he is after all in control of everything. Yet if we are to believe all of what the Bible teaches, then we must believe Scripture when it says, “God does not tempt anyone”. God simply provides choices. It is only our sinful heart and desire which moves us to make the wrong choice and fall into sin. Remember when Eve sinned, she blamed it on the devil and when Adam sinned he blamed it on Eve. In reality, the blame was on the person that reached out and consumed what was not to be consumed. This is our sinful nature and all the more reason why we need to lean heavily on the Lord rather than giving him credit for something that is totally our fault.
So we have no reason to give God credit for temptations nor for our fall into those temptations. However, we do give credit to God for the Trials he puts before us.
Our lives are full of trials. On Friday I was in the front yard and a man walked up to me saying he could trim back my tree quite cheaply. He said it would really help him out if he could help me out. He also mentioned Jesus which moved me to do what we really could not afford. He quoted me $40.00 and after I asked him to cut down a stump the price went up to $50.00. Okay, so after warning his crew that there was a wire strung along a PVC tube into a socket (which hangs on the tree of all places) his crew began. Things looked good enough until a large limb came crashing down over those wires. Then another limb came crashing down on my back gutters shattering the gutters. Now the wires in the PVC pipe were all messed up and my gutters were destroyed. Melissa asked for another stump to be cut down and I figured at least $10.00 added for that too. Yet when I gave the guy $60.00 he demanded $80.00. $80.00 dollars from $40.00 plus the destruction of my wires and gutters, simply did not thrill me. I paid the guy and tried to remain nice because he planned on coming back to clean up in the morning. After the crew left I became visibly upset and I had to pray. I concluded that this was a trial for me to see if I could still love my neighbor after being cheated. It took God awhile to get that through to me and after prayer I was was able to forgive the way the Lord has guided me to.