Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
Two things jumped out at me as I read this 1) Temptation is the testing of my faith 2) Perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
I can quote this scripture. I am sure I have blogged about it before, I have definitely journaled it. I am not sure I ever considered that it is the enduring through temptation that increases my faith. It is only when I am able to stand through temptation that my faith is strengthened. It also means that when I give into temptation, my faith is weakened.
Temptation In the natural sense, I immediately think of the temptation when I am trying to be healthy. It weakens my resolve to press into eating healthy when I keep unhealthy food around me. Once I have given into the craving for something sweet or salty, that is all I want for days. When I give in to the temptation to not exercise, it makes the decision easier the next day to do the same. It is a vicious cycle that keeps me trapped where I don’t want to be. It is only when I endure through the temptation and do the right thing, that I am able to obtain the result that I am working towards.
It is the same in spiritual battles of temptation. When I give in to sin, I weaken my faith in that area. The devil can wave the temptation, but it is my choice to walk in the Spirit and endure through the temptation to increase my faith or to give in to the flesh and strengthen its hold on my life. It is not the devil making me do it, it is an intentional choice I make. I have to chose what I want to endure. I can easily endure the “moment of pleasure” as I give into the temptation of the flesh. Knowing I will then have to endure the conviction for not doing what I know was right. And enduring the condemnation that the enemy will bring to my mind because I gave into the temptation. Or I can chose to endure through the moments of temptation, and chose to walk in the Spirit.
Personally, I have never thought past a day or two about when I make the right decision and endure through the temptation. However, there are still times that the enemy has brought up times that I gave into temptation, years and even decades later. He will try to torment me with the past, because I opened the door and gave him the foothold. So I find myself still having to endure the consequences of giving into temptation. For me that is a powerful lesson I need to keep in mind and remember when facing temptation.
Perfect, Complete, Lacking Nothing As I read these words, it felt rather repetitive. I looked up the words in Blue Letter Bible thinking maybe I was misinterpreting the words.
Perfect – Strongs G5046 – teleios- brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness; perfect:
Complete – Strong’s G3648 – holoklēros – free from sin, faultless
Lacking – Strong’s G3007 – leipō – to lag, be inferior
In Nothing – Strong’s G3367 – mēdeis – in nothing
So this scripture could read: when we let endurance have it’s perfect work in us, letting endurance bring temptation to an end, finished, lacking nothing necessary for completeness then we will be brought to an end, finished, lacking nothing for completeness, free from sin, faultless, lagging or being inferior in nothing.
Every temptation endured brings us closer to being able to overcome sin completely. I don’t think there is anyone except Jesus will live a sinless life here on earth. However, each time we endure temptation brings us closer to being perfected in sin in that area. The more we do the right things, the easier it is to overcome the temptation. The more we face a temptation, the less it will become a temptation.
Prayer: Lord I thank you that there is no temptation that will come to me that You have not already provided a way out of . I thank you when I chose to walk by the Spirit, You will empower me to keep choosing the right thing until I am no longer tempted in that area to give into the flesh in that area. I pray You will help me to over come temptation in the natural also.