Scripture Reading:  James 1:12

Our reference today says, “Happy is the man who doesn’t give in and do wrong when he is tempted, for afterwards he will get his reward, the crown of life that God has promised those who love him.”  The man who endures the testing of temptation is happy because the outcome of his endurance shows that he trusts God, not on the things of the world.  Beloved, do you know that every temptation is an opportunity to do good; because on the way to spiritual maturity, temptation becomes stepping stone rather than a stumbling block.  This can only be true when a believer sees temptation more as an opportunity to make a choice to do good and avoid wrong.  Temptation therefore provides opportunity for believers to make choice.  Of a truth, temptation of whatever nature comes from Satan the devil and he uses it as his primary weapon to destroy and truncate the loving relationship between the believer and his God.  God on the other hand uses temptation to develop the believer into maturity. St. Ambrose confirms this thus, “The devil tempts that he may ruin; God tempt that he may crown.”Each time we choose to do good instead of sin when we are tempted, we grow in the character of Christ.  What is the character of Christ?  To describe the character of Christ is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  For the Scripture says, “when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will provide His kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”(Gal. 5:22 – 23).  These nine qualities beautifully describe the character of Christ because in Him, peace, joy, patience and other fruit are perfected.  It means, therefore that to have these qualities is to be Christ-like.

How then does the Holy Spirit produce these nine fruit in the life of believers?  God develops the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a believer by allowing him to go through certain circumstances; for him to be said to have had the fruit of the Holy Spirit, he is expected to behave in a direct opposite of the temptation. This is why we say that character development involves making a choice and temptations provide the opportunity to make such choices.  For instance God teaches the believers to love by bringing some unloving people around him.  When you love people that love you, no character is developed; but when you love someone who does not love you then Christ-like character is developed.  In the same vein, God teaches us real joy in the midst of sorrow when we turn to Him.  External situations can make you to be happy while joy comes from your relationship with God.  God develops real peace in us by allowing moments of chaos and confusion.  When Satan brings chaotic situations into our lives, and things no longer move as planned, God teaches us to be at peace.  No wonder the Scripture says, “Let your heart not be troubled, believe in the father, believe also in me.” (John 14:1).  We therefore learn real peace when we choose to trust God, not minding what is happening.  In this way, patience is developedwhen we are forced to wait on the Lord even though we are tempted to be angry and even want to deny the love of God.  Beloved, no believer can achieve Christ-like qualities without going through temptations.  Your attitude towards the temptation determines how you develop the right or wrong character.  Beloved, choose today to develop a Christ-like quality by choosing the right attitude when temptation comes.

Prayer Points:

  1. Take a worship song as you are led.
  2. Take this declaration seriously: “Father, I trust in you with all my heart; and I acknowledge You in all my ways. I will not depart from You or become wise in my own eyes.  I will fear Your name and depart from evil for in so doing I will find health for my flesh and strength for my bones.”
  3. Lord, grant me the grace to make the right choices in whatever temptation that comes my way.
  4. Father, be merciful to all Users of Daily Strength, grant them the grace to see your finger in all temptations that come their ways.

Exercise:  Share with someone the need to express the fruit of the Holy Spirit even in temptation.

Memory Verse:  James 4:1