In this week's study of the New Testament Letter of James, we learn that Satan's goal is to deceive God's people. He tells us that if some-thing bad happens, it's God's fault. When we're tempted and we make bad choices, blame God because he is the one who tempted us. Neither of those things is true, but Satan is the master liar. He is the Deceiver!
God doesn't tempt us because there is nothing evil about God. God is good. If we're tempted, it's Satan who tempts us or our own evil desire (our human nature) at work within us. God can use our times of temptation to test us, to see if we're growing in our faith and getting strong. But he doesn't need to tempt us because there is plenty of temptation in our lives already.
Often times when bad things happen to us, we blame God. Again, this is the work of Satan the deceiver. He wants to convince us that God is bad and that we should not follow him. Insurance companies call tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes "acts of God." When a loved one dies we say, "Why did God take that person away from me?" If we get sick, we might blame God for that too, "How could God let this happen to me?" Bad things are not from God. Bad things happen because we live in an evil world. God didn't create an evil world. He created a world where everything was good. It's our sin that brought evil, sickness and death into the world. Don't blame God for the bad things in your life. Sometimes God uses the bad things in life to help us grow, but that doesn't mean he makes bad things happen.
If we don't buy into Satan's deceptions, we'll discover that God gives us good things. In James 1:17 we read, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights...." We need to give God credit for all the good things he does for us. All good gifts come from him (James 1:17a), God is always reliable (James 1:17b), and he saves us (James 1:18). Give God the honor due his name!
This Sunday at First Baptist Riverside we'll learn how to overcome Satan's deceptions and recognize God for the loving and good God he is. I hope you'll join us for a great time of worship at either 9:00 a.m. (Traditional Worship) or 10:45 a.m. (Contemporary Worship). Don't let Satan trick you. He is our adversary, not our friend.