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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


James 1:2-4 My brethern, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

A temptation is anything that promises greater satisfaction by following a course of disobedience. It can be an allurement or an attraction that appeals to our senses, or it can be a persecution, affliction or trial that threatens our wellbeing. Divers is an old English word that is obsolete in our current vocabulary. It is used in the King James translation of the Bible to signify "many in kind," or "many in number."Divers temptations, then, is a multitude, or many kinds of enticements, or invitations to sin, that appeals to our human weaknesses, through negative or positive conditions, which we face during our life here on earth.

What is the source of these temptations, and why are there many in number and kind? First of all, we can eliminate God as their source. James 1:13 says, 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. Reading on, verse 14 tells us, But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Temptation, then, is an external enticement, or attraction, that draws mankind away from a course of obedience to God. The world, in which we live, is filled with these temptations. We are exposed to them daily. The apostle, John, places these temptations in three classifications; the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16b). These are temptations that appeal to our sensual desires, our visual desires and our emotional desires. Like James, John confirms that these temptations are not of the Father, but...of the world (I John 2:16c).

1 Peter 5:8 refers to Satan as ...your adversary the devil, a roaring lion, that walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Satan is referred to as the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4), and as the prince of this world (John 14:30). Paul warned the Ephesians stand against the wiles of the devil, and refers to him as a ruler of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:11-12). Satan is the source of our temptations, and no one on earth is immune from them. In answer to God's question, From whence comest thou? Satan replies, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it (See Job 1:7 & Job 2:2).

We can be assured that all human beings will be tempted by Satan during our lifetime here on earth. Even Jesus, while on earth as a human being, was tempted by Satan (See Luke 4:1-13). This text concludes by saying that after ...the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season. This is our lesson; Satan does not cease from temptation after we have overcome one trial - he departs only for a season. From this we should know that Satan is the source of divers temptations because they are many in number. The fact that he uses all types of temptations by appealing to our sensual, visual and emotional desires, proves they are divers, or many in kind of temptations.

Why does James tell us that temptations should be considered a source of joy? This often-used example should give us the answer. As gold is put into a furnace to remove its impurities, so do Christians fall into divers temptations in order to be purified. Satan places numerous stumbling blocks in the paths of Christians, as they journey through life. Of this we can be assured. James tells us that patience comes when the trials of temptations are faced and are overcome. To reinforce this teaching of James, consider what Paul told the Roman Christians: ... but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom. 5:3-5).

Each time we overcome a temptation in life we grow in patience, experience, and hope. There is joy in winning; there is joy in triumph. We win everytime we defeat Satan. Each triumph is a step closer to God, and the cause of Christ. In this there is joy to the ultimate degree. The writer of Hebrews tells us, For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise (Heb. 10:36). To those that are faithful to the end - to those that overcome the trials and temptations of life, the reward of eternal life in Heaven is promised. To these Christians, God says "rejoice" for they are perfect and entire, wanting nothing.