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We ended the last post asking you about what we think about being rich.  One of the greatest barriers to our discipleship is materialism and our false belief that having things, especially many things is a measure of our worth and a means to our security.  It is a false belief because it tempts us to lay up treasures here on earth and to avoid anything that might rob us of those treasures.  We might use our resource to gain power and then use our power to oppress or manipulate others we do not like or who threaten our possessions and our security.  It is an even greater problem because it tempts us to stop living by faith and limit ourselves to what we can accomplish with our own resources.  It makes us live in fear because we know that those resources can be lost or drained away.

But the worst problem from a discipleship perspective is that our wealth and possessions become what we put our faith in instead of God.

James moves from this to sum up his first chapter about faith and doubt and what we value with these powerful, yet deeply troubling words.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” – James 1.12-18, New International Version

1. What does James say is an important source of our blessing?

2. Why is it a blessing?

3. What keeps us from pursuing this blessing?

4. What does James say is wrong with the idea that God is tempting us?

5. What does it say about our idea of God when we allow ourselves to believe that God is the source of temptation?

Next time we will talk about the real reason for temptation in our lives.



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