James 1:12-16 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Do you make decisions based on how you feel? People who are led by their feelings, tend to do so as the foundation for evaluation. In other words, “I feel this way; therefore, this is what I should do.” Psychologists remind us feelings and desires are closely linked; desires emerge from our feelings. What comes to your mind when you think about the word “desire?” Desires may cover a wide range of human wants, emotions, and cravings. It might be a desire for God, but it can also be a desire for lust, greed, or the fulfillment of our flesh. God created human beings and knows our desires, but does God generate all desires? Is it possible that some of our desires actually flow from our unredeemed flesh?
Our desires have to be wisely discerned, because we do not want to ascribe something to God that is far from His heart and plan for our lives. If we are honest, we must accept the fact that our desires are not all holy. In fact, that is the very reason we are not to be led by our feelings; instead, we are to walk by faith in the Word of God. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit who brings us into unity with God’s Word. As believers who walk by faith, therefore, we need to take a good look at our desires. If our desires are completely self-centered and opposed to God’s Word, chances are our flesh is generating that longing (1 Cor. 13:5). If our greatest desire is living in the will of God and standing on the foundation of God’s Word, then that is a desire that flows from the Spirit. Personal responsibility is a big deal with God; so, use the Word of God as your plumb line and honestly and wisely evaluate your feelings and desires.
12 If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!
13 When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. 14 Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure [hooked by the bait of evil from their own desires] them away into darkness. 15 Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you! 16 So my friends, don’t be fooled by your own desires!
Prayer: Father, thank you for knowing me and understanding my personality, desires, and feelings. I will remain faithful to your Word; help me to walk by faith in your ways. As I do so, please keep my relationships healthy and holy, because that is where most of my desires and feelings are expressed; the proving grounds of my faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.