Where does Evil come From?

Scripture: James 1:13-15, ‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’

 

Observations: Where does evil come from? James makes it clear that it doesn’t come from God. When we are tempted to do evil, we can’t say ‘God is tempting me!’ because ‘God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone.’ According to Scripture God is all-together Good, and he cannot abide evil. So where then does evil come from? According to James it comes from within us. It comes from our ‘desires,’ which have been corrupted by our sinful nature. And these desires are the root of our temptation. James explains temptation as being ‘dragged away and enticed.’ James goes on to explain the process, ‘after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ That idea that sin leads to death is found throughout all Scripture. It is what God promised would happen to Adam and Eve if they disobeyed him. The fact that we have not died because of our sin is due to nothing but God’s grace. We all deserve to die for our sin, and yet God in his grace is patient with us. The point however is that ultimately evil doesn’t come from without, rather it comes from within. The problem with this world is caused by the problem within each one of us.

 

Application: It is so easy to blame others for the problems we see and experience in the world. But the truth is that those problems are just an extension of the problems in our own hearts. We with people wouldn’t be so horrible and yet we struggle to be good people ourselves. We wish people would speak the truth and yet we struggle to be truthful people also. And often we blame God for the state of the world, and the difficulties in our lives, and yet of all the people in this universe he’s the only one who isn’t the cause of evil. Maybe instead of blaming someone else we should confess our own sinfulness.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the problem with this world is me. I don’t love others as You do, I don’t care about others as You do. Lord, I still struggle with the fact that I want to be the Lord of my own life, and put myself before anyone else. Lord, I pray that through Your Holy Spirit You might transform my desires, that I would no longer desire the things of this world, but that I would desire the things of You. Lord, renew my heart, and protect me from myself, that I might not be dragged away and enticed by my desires. Lead me not into temptation, keep sin far from, for You have brought me from death to life, and the life I now live I live for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

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