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Thursday, February 8: Dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed

Faith WorksRelying heavily on the teachings of Jesus and especially drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, James, in his New Testament letter, asserts that true faith is more than an intellectual pursuit of ideas. Instead, real faith results in action. James writes a stream of wise teachings that can easily seem like a bucket of ice water in your face. Watch for the Holy Spirit to call you to take next steps in activating your faith, helping you encounter and better follow Jesus to bless a broken world.

Read James 1:13-18

When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Reflect

James is quite explicit in saying that the test of being tempted to sin doesn't originate with God, but with our own "evil desire." The word picture he paints, of being dragged away, conceiving, giving birth, and then that resulting "child" itself giving birth, is vivid, even lewd and licentious, some might say—though James would be far from the first biblical writer to use such a metaphor.

Respond

It's easy, yet still accurate, to excuse our own sins with, "We're only human." While none of us can expect to solve overnight our own problems with being enticed by our evil desires, Jesus still calls us to holiness. It's a lifelong project, not something to solve with an extra dose of determination or pulling your commitment belt another notch or two tighter. Think of one desire that allures you. You can begin with a small, simple, trusting prayer for God to change you and to make you willing to change. Pray it today and tomorrow and the next day, expanding it as you go, and believing that God will honor and answer that sacred prayer.

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