Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. – James 1:13-15
I knew it was there before I even climbed up on the roof. The ‘danger”, being close to the edge. There is always a risk involved when we put ourselves in a position where things can go wrong. As I was balancing on the edge of the roof replacing a bad board my weight shifted and I leaned out to far. There is a sixty-degree slope to the roof so the angle was a little bit of a challenge. It was not as bad as forty-five degrees but none the less still a challenge. It was not as if I had not been here before. I had been on this roof several times in my life. I felt comfortable with my abilities yet cautious, and then it happened as I leaned over things started to go south. I had picked my spots to stand because there were rotten boards that I knew would not hold me up if I had to stand on them. As I tried to catch myself I stepped on one of the “rotten spots and there was no support there. Luckily or providentially as I went over the edge I managed to grab the top of the wall and I slammed down against the side of the house and caught myself before it all went to black. I pulled myself up on the roof breathing a sigh of thanks and relief.
The writer James tells us in the first chapter that when we are tempted that we are not to blame God. I have often asked myself this question. “Does it ever go away?” We all have those areas of our lives where we have weaknesses. We may not have been in them or exposed to them or around them for a period of time but that does not lessen their ability to expose, ensnare, or entrap us? Again the answer is “no”. Whatever we struggle with we will always struggle with. The temptation may take on a different appearance or sound a different way but it is still designed to do the same thing, cause us to fall. James writes that in order to overcome temptations we must recognize that they come from within ourselves. Our old nature within is tempted to sin. We put ourselves in harms way by what happens in our hearts with our excessive desires, our overconfidence that “this time it will be different.” If we know the edge is there the safest way to keep from going over the edge is to stay far away from it. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus said we are to ask the Father, “deliver us from evil”. Staying in the Word of God on a daily basis and prayer will keep us in the right frame of mind to be aware of our weaknesses and God’s strength. The example and reminder of the Old and New Testament Saints and their daily battles with “the world, the flesh, and the Devil” will help us in our daily walk of faith. Life can be a beautiful thing but even the rose has its thorns.
H. Scott Latimer