James 1:13, “Let no one say~| when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”
The human tendency is to blame God for everything, especially misfortune or calamity, thus avoiding any human responsibility. Proverbs puts it this way: “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord” (19:3).
In James 1:13, James had just declared, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (1:12).
The present–tense verb form “I am being tempted” can have two meanings: one positive, “to try to discover the nature or character of something by testing,” and one negative, “to entice to improper behavior” (Bauer–Danker Lexicon). The context generally makes the choice for us, as in our text today.
James is dealing with our personal response to our inherent evil. If the believer yields to the temptation of immediate gratification, doubting God’s wisdom and instruction, then he reaps the inevitable negative consequences of sin and possibly death (James 1:15). The correct response to temptation leads us to spiritual maturity, wisdom, and blessings.
Blaming circumstances or others for our incorrect decisions or moral failures is only self–deceiving and unhelpful. A poor man’s poverty cannot turn him into a thief and thus justify his stealing; the cause is his own greed. An alcoholic might blame his business pressures or family problems for his drinking, and he might continue toward any number of catastrophes, none of which were God’s doing.
The command means “everyone stop saying,” or telling yourself to justify your own disobedience. Wrong thoughts breed wrong behavior. You can chose to believe that “no trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others.
“And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13). As the wind strengthens the trees, so trials give endurance to those who desire to follow Christ.
“Lord, It is so easy to blame You for the bad things that happen in my life and take credit for the good things. When will I learn to repeat to myself the truth that You have nothing to do with evil that happens in my life? I trust You, Lord, for grace in all circumstances.”