First Reading: James 1:12-18
James hits us with a bit of truth and reality today when he says that temptation never comes from God: “Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire.”
We don’t like to hear these hard truths because we are always looking for excuses for our behaviour and ways of exonerating ourselves: ‘it was because this happened or that happened that I did such and such a thing.’
There is something deep in us that stops us looking squarely at ourselves and seeing our behaviour for what it is, our desire to do what we want and not to take the consequences of our action. We can even do this as a society—what do you think the legalising of abortion is?
For the Christian, personal spiritual growth comes from standing firm in temptation and asking God for help with whatever it is we are tempted to do. As soon as we find ourselves dwelling on some thought that is going to lead to sin we should ask God for the help and grace to overcome it.
But there is always the temptation that we enjoy, that we like and that we enjoy dwelling on for a while. Like Samson in his dealings with Delilah, we like to flirt with sin. This is dangerous and it is a mark of our sincerity how quickly we try to get away from all sorts of sin.
Humans are always under pressure from our desires, we shall have them to the day we die. But we should hold firm as often as possible, asking God’s forgiveness when we fail.