Together in Christ: 'Don't Welcome Darkness!' — James 1:13-18, 21

Saturday, January 20, 2024

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. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

. . .

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

— James 1:13-18, 21 NLT

Key Thought

I do not know another passage — except possibly David's confession of sin [1] — that speaks to the mess of sin so straightforwardly. James describes the process of sin: Our desires lure and entice us, capture us, drag us away from God, and lead us to sin, and sin leads us to death.

James also speaks to the doubt about God's goodness that led Adam and Eve to sin (and likewise leads us). James reminds us that God only gives us "good and perfect" gifts. His love and gracious generosity don't shift like shadows. He is consistent. Why? Because we are our Father's "prized possession"! We can trust His gifts because of His great love for us!

Genesis chapters 3-11 demonstrate sin's expanding and permeating consequences. If we are not honest about our sin, if we blame it on other people and other things, our sins damage our relationships with each other and with God. [2] So, one of the most important things we can do to bless our loved ones, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and our family relationships, is to pursue God's goodness, accepting "the word God has planted in" our hearts that "has the power to save" us and heal our relationships as we "get rid of all the filth and evil in [our] lives, and humbly accept the word God" has given us in Scripture. [3] Because God gives only good gifts and brings the light of His grace and life to us, we can be open with God about our sin and refuse to welcome darkness into your life! [4]

[1] Psalm 51:1-19.
[2] Notice that in Galatians 5:19-21, the apostle Paul emphasized that the works of the sinful fleshly nature inevitably show up in sins that damage relationships — hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, dissensions, factions, and sexual immorality. As with Adam and Eve, sin eventually works itself into relationships and brings division, decay, and death to the relationships as well — Genesis 3:1-19.
[3] James 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:1-4; 2 Peter 1:20-21.
[4] John 1:4-5; 1 John 1:5-10.

Today's Prayer

Father, the almighty and gracious God, thank You for loving me and wanting me to find Your blessings for my life. I do not want to have my sin compounded by damaging or destroying my relationships. So, dear Father, I ask that the Holy Spirit empower me as I seek to draw near to You, obey the commands in Your Word, follow the example of Jesus, and produce the fruit of the Spirit. [A] I know as the Spirit transforms my life [B] that You will enable my relationships to deepen, and I will be a blessing to others. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

[A] Paul emphasized in Galatians 5:13-26 that the Spirit produces the kind of fruit that not only honors God but helps us live in holy fellowship with each other.
[B] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Genesis 3:1-24
  • Galatians 5:13-26

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Illustration

Illustration of James 1:13-18, 21 NLT — 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. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

.  .  .

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.