Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
GOT A MINUTE?
James points out the cycle of how temptation works. It doesn’t come from God, but from inside ourselves-inside our hearts. Temptation begins with the thought of it. It’s carried away and hooked by internal lust for something. Then the lust gives birth to sin. Finally, when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death!Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:13-15) God will not take you into that kind of temptation but will use it all for the testing and proving out of your genuineness. It’s like a refining process, burning off all of the dross and impurities out of our lives. Religion and religiosity are, for the most part, a well-intentioned pursuit of how mankind might connect with God. However, when Jesus showed up, he brought with him a better idea. Jesus presented himself as God’s way to make connection with mankind. Jesus referred to this connection as the way mankind can enter the Kingdom of God, which is now on earth as it is in heaven. With Jesus came the ability to experience the Kingdom right here, right now.
Jesus was not saying to outdo these super-religious people. When Jesus said that your righteousness must surpass the righteousness of the religious, he was saying that your righteousness must go deeper-from the externals into the internals. Remember, God looks on the heart (internals) while man looks on the outward appearance (externals). Living your life-focus around the externals will wear you out, rob you of your peace and joy, and can ruin your life and relationships. Righteousness as Jesus teaches it is an invisible matter of the heart! To Jesus everything originates in the heart, so guard your heart by wrapping it around Jesus and His teachings. You’ll never go wrong with that!