The temptation to try harder

I’ve been thinking about how Great God is all the time and how weak I am sometimes!

Why is sinning so easy?

Why is my nature bent on avoiding the things I know I should do and bent on doing the things I shouldn’t do? It seems so much harder to obey and be selfless than it is to give in and do what I want to do. Do you know what I mean? 

Over the last few months I have seen God do amazing things. He’s provided – He’s drawn people to Himself – He’s brought healing and peace. I love having a front row seat in watching God work in other people’s lives. I just wish His work in my life wasn’t so slow. It’s not that I’ve gone and done something huge and crazy. It’s just that I’ve been reminded of my propensity to try harder to fight sin and that hasn’t worked!

You may have already guessed what book I’ve been reading in my devotions. Yep one of my favorite books – James. Today I read James 1:13-15. In this passage it talks about the very struggle I mentioned in this blog. Today I want to encourage you with three quick reminders so you will be strengthened and encouraged in your faith! 

Why do any one of us think the the Christian life is all about trying harder?
  • Temptation comes from within.

How I am led into temptation? Like me, everyone has a unique slope. There is a unique set of temptations that we all have. That slippery slope of temptation is designed by our own lusts. What tempts you may not tempt anyone else. But we are all tempted by our own desires and selfishness. If you aren’t ready to agree with that statement then help is far away from you my friend. 

You may say ‘the enemy tempts me’ and in part, you would be right, but the basis of all temptation is what already exists in you. All the enemy has to do is nudge me to lust to get the temptation ball rolling. That rolling ball of temptation can be exasperated by 

  • Stress 
  • Identity 
  • Tiredness 
  • Selfishness 
  • God calls us to stand up and not run away or pretend. 

In James 1 God calls me and you to endure. To stand up under temptation and not to pretend that our sin isn’t that bad. 

I’ve tried to stand up and to endure but over and over all my efforts fail me. 

Sometimes I ask myself, ‘Am I just weak’ or even worse ‘am I really saved?’ But…..

  • God doesn’t want me to try harder. 

As you read James 1:13-15 you will see with me that God has both a plan and a purpose in temptation. That purpose is not to force you to try harder or to sit in a corner and sulk. The purpose of temptation is simply to draw you and I to God. Nowhere in this passage does God say He wants effort. What He does want is faith and prayer. 

Can you remember the last time you prayed about a specific temptation you struggle with? To be honest when I was studying this passage I couldn’t remember the last time I was proactive and not reactive about my sin. 

What happens when I don’t turn to God? 

James says it starts with a temptation that leads to a desire, that moves to a thought, and concludes with an action. Do you know and recognize that cycle in your life?  It isn’t very long after that action that we sense in the core of our soul, a deep sense of conviction. The consequence for our decision.

But with each step in that temptation cycle you and I are making a clear decision: 

  1. Turn to selfishness 


  1. Turn to God 

The Christian life is Christ in me. So please let me encourage you to:

  • Pray daily 
  • Get Scripture in our heads
  • Always be vigilant as you aren’t as strong as you think 
  • Know God wants to set you free minute by minute day by day 

If I can encourage or pray specifically for you please reply to this blog or email me directly at:

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