February 27, 2019 | James 1:13-14

Pastor Brian Anderson

 "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." (James 1:13-14, ESV)

The steam engine was a grand invention brought forth in the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. It had that power to run over 100 miles per hour while pulling box cars filled with materials or people. Just like its name, the engine received power through steam generated by coal and water. It worked a bit like a giant kettle sitting on top of a coal fire: the heat from the fire boils the water in the kettle and turns it into steam. Instead of blowing off uselessly into the air, like the steam from a kettle, the steam is captured and used to power a machine.  

Our bodies are similar to a steam engine. We need something from within to give us fuel for living. Unlike the steam engine, our bodies are not fueled with coal, but we are driven by our inward desires. Depending on what type of desires are within us determines what type of lives we live. Simply stated: Godly desires fuel godly living, but sinful desires fuel sinful living. 

James tells us, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This means that God is not to be blamed for our temptations and sin, because He is holy and set apart from temptation and sin (James 1:13). However, we are not set apart from our inward desires that lead us into sin. It does us no good to play the blame game when we fall into temptation, because our failure to obey God comes from the sinful coal and steam naturally produced from within us. How many times literally has our need to “blow off steam” led us into sin? For most of us, the answer is more than we would like to admit. Due to our inherent sin nature, it is natural for us to generate sinful steam leading to sinful living. But there is good news for the Christian! 

Through the faithful love of God, He has placed within us the power of the Holy Spirit. As we read the Word of God and pray to Him earnestly, the Holy Spirit generates a godly steam leading to godly living. This faithful work of God enables us to worship Him as we are empowered to resist temptation and trust fully in His grace and truth! Turn off the “godly” steam, and you have no power. Let the “sinful" steam go its own way, and you have destruction. 

Look to God today, and trust that by His grace you will be empowered through the Holy Spirit to generate godly steam leading to godly worship!  

1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

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