In-person worship services will be held as scheduled this Sunday. Please use discretion when determining whether roads are safe for your personal travel.
If you are unable to travel, consider joining worship online HERE at 7:30, 9, 11 or 5pm, on-demand at Resurrection’s YouTube channel, or on TV at KMCI 38 at 8am or 11am.
We are watching the weather and at this time the Car Show is still on as scheduled for the public, open from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. We will keep you updated as conditions change.
13 No one who is tested should say, “God is tempting me!” This is because God is not tempted by any form of evil, nor does he tempt anyone. 14 Everyone is tempted by their own cravings; they are lured away and enticed by them. 15 Once those cravings conceive, they give birth to sin; and when sin grows up, it gives birth to death.
Start September right by attending “AFFIRMATIONS: A NIGHT OF WORSHIP.” It’s this Saturday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m. in the Leawood Sanctuary (Building A). Resurrection worship leader Isaac Cates has a great lineup of singing groups and music planned (click here for more information). And it’s all free–bring your friends and join in!
Kindly Christians may tell people facing a serious temptation, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s based on one verse (1 Corinthians 10:13). James, as well as Jesus (cf. John 9:1-5), taught that God helps us resist temptation, but does not create it. Scholar N. T. Wright said, “[James] warns us not to imagine that God is responsible for the temptation itself. The testing comes from within (Jesus made that clear, too)….If you are true to ‘yourself’, you will end up a complete mess.” *
Lord God, I thank you that you (unlike me) are “not tempted by any form of evil.” Help me keep learning how to trust in your grace to guide my steps in the right path. Amen.
I don’t think of myself as being tempted very often, but that’s only because my temptations are so stealthy. My greatest temptation isn’t brownies or an extra glass of wine. I’m tempted by the approval of others. This gets me in trouble when I rush toward others’ approval before pausing to discern whether what they want from me is a good idea or not.
Early Christians had a fairly sophisticated notion of human desire and behavior. On the one hand, they believed we are free to make choices in our lives – where we go, what we do, who we associate with. On the other hand, we are not entirely free because we live unawares out of our compulsions, anxieties, inner drives, temptations, often our most wounded places.
Temptation might be just another word for woundedness. The things that tempt us often reveal our anxieties, drives, hurt places. We are tempted by things that we think will finally give us what we most deeply want, will satisfy us and ultimately heal these hurt places, but they never do. I’m tempted by the recognition and appreciation of others that I think will make me feel real, worthy, valued. This is the way that leads to death, not to life.
Temptation is not a sign of moral failure. It’s simply human. It’s a sign of something needing attention inside me. Temptation invites me to ask, “What is it I most deeply long for?” and follow that thread down into myself. Some likely culprits are that I want to feel connected or experience fullness or be seen and appreciated.
Into this reality, James speaks a word: God is not the source of our temptations. God is not the source of our wounds. God is the Source of our healing. James reminds me to turn to the Holy One who created me and holds my life. Only there will I find the true ground of connection and value.
Next time you feel tempted, let it be an invitation to ask, “What is it I most truly long for?” and follow that thread down into yourself. See what you discover. Allow God to hold it with you.
* Wright, N. T., Early Christian Letters for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 8). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
** Wright, N. T., Early Christian Letters for Everyone (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 9). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
*** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters of James and Peter (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 53.