“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.” ~ James 1:16
Explanation of the Text: James follows up his examination of temptation and sin with a dire warning to all believers, to not be deceived. Here is an important concept for all believers to understand! As we established over the last few days, our tendency is to deceive ourselves. We convince ourselves that we are not the cause for our own temptations. We first begin by blaming God, but again, we have already established that God is not the cause. What then, is the next response we usually have? We blame Satan. Then ultimately, we begin to blame other people. However, James indicates that none of these are the cause of our temptations. Instead he indicates that the cause of temptation is us! Whether we want to accept the responsibility or not, one must recognize their own responsibility. If a person does not recognize that responsibility, that person deceives himself into thinking that they are not the cause and thus, are without sin.
Examination & Application of Text: To not be deceived, one must recognize their own responsibility in sin. If one does recognize the role he plays in temptation, the response to temptation will be one that is exemplified in character, either by refusing to fall into that temptation or by repenting of it and turning from it when he does fall into it. Likewise, as one develops Godly character, the response to temptation becomes easier, both in acknowledging it and in not being enticed by it. The call by James is to not be deceived about the source of your temptation and sin.
With that said, the only way to avoid being deceived is to be in the Word of God. The Word of God is truth. It is the infallible rule of life. Because it is truth, it is the only authority one needs. It is the only weapon of defense that is reliable and sufficient enough to stand guard against falseness and deception. Every other source available is unreliable because it is tainted by man, who still battles with the flesh. Therefore, everything must be evaluated in the context of Scripture. In order to evaluate something, in order to determine whether or not you are being deceived, it requires that you know the Word, and thus you must be in it.
Do not be deceived brethren. Instead, recognize who you are without Christ and recognize who you are in Christ! Recognize the battle you have with the flesh and your role in sin and then recognize the freedom you have in Jesus Christ! What a joy it is to live, no longer as slaves to sin, but as slaves to Christ!