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Temptation at Work

James 1:13-15
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. (NIVUK)

We love to take the credit when things go well; but we hate to take the blame. Transferring blame onto others is common in every culture. Alas, people often accuse God when they fall into sin. But James says it is quite wrong to say that God makes us sin. God is holy and, by definition, cannot be corrupted by sin nor can He corrupt others. He knows that the world is polluted by evil; but He wants everybody to have the opportunity to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-4), and so He does not wipe us all off the planet. Instead, He sent Jesus into this sinful world to pay for our sin and to enable us to live holy lives, resisting temptation (Titus 2:11-14), to His glory.

This passage helps us to understand the 'mechanics' of sin. Firstly, we have evil desires - even Christians have still got part of their old 'sinful nature' which lusts for what is wrong (Romans 8:5-8). When we allow those strong desires to control us, they will look for an opportunity to be fulfilled - these circumstances allow 'temptation' to call us. The call is a lie, promising us something good in exchange for disobeying God, like the first temptation in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5). That lie is of Satanic origin, even though we may believe it from the persuasion of family or friends or the media. The devil is a liar who wants to destroy the good which God is doing (John 8:44). When we give in to temptation, we forget Jesus, and allow ourselves to have what we want - that is sin. Whatever the evil trigger may be, it is our own sinful passion which drags us into sin. If we allow that desire/temptation/sin cycle to become a habit, it kills off our love for Jesus, and leads to a trail of destruction.

Sin is a choice which we will usually not make if we think that people who disagree are watching. Most small children will not misbehave when they are being watched. As we grow up, we learn that we can sin most easily when we are outside of righteous company. So, we practise bad habits at school and college where parents cannot see; and at work where the church cannot see. John 3:19-20 says, "This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed."

The workplace provides many opportunities to sin: when living away from home in hotels, travelling alone, in company with non-Christian colleagues. Even our career can feed the greed for greater rewards. Indeed, work can become a god if we let it take top priority over worshipping God, and providing for our family. That is one of the reasons that thousands round the world are reading Word@Work today - to ensure that they remember that God must have the first place. The wise believer knows that all of life, including work, must be brought under His authority. So, review your ungodly desires and the opportunities to satisfy them. Then open up to God, and another believer for accountability, and prayerfully change your diary so that you will become God's servant and not sin's slave (Romans 6:12-14).

Prayer 
Righteous Lord. Thank You for explaining how I fall into sin, and that it is not Your fault but mine. I am sorry if I ever blame You for the mess I get myself into. Please help me to be realistic about the ease with which my evil desires can be tempted, especially in the relative freedom I have at work. Help me to develop healthy accountability relationships based on what You say in Your Word, and an active prayer life as I ask You to help me to control my ungodly desires. To Your praise and glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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