"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 full-grown gives birth to death." James 1:13-15
Just read an illustration: often, when a rattlesnake is cornered in his frenzy he will bite himself, delivering poisonous wounds to his own body. Edgy, but effective point--when cornered there is a high risk of a self inflicted poisonous bite.
What backs me into that dangerous corner? What makes me defensive, pre-occupied, resentful?
In looking at what corners me, the first thought was a need for approval of others and desire to to be right--certainly a deep desire to not be wrong--in those areas that I care about (more than happy to be wrong about how a car engine really works, as I really don't care).
My ego (prefer the more gentle descriptive--my confidence) but it really is my ego, is too delighted by being right. Being right is not righteous, is it?
So how might I move out from this corner? How might I keep from even moving in? How might I not fuel the dangerous need to be right, thought of rightly, respond right?
Well, back to the verse, James starts with God does not drag me but my desires drag me--so I need to shift the source of what pulls on me.
First I thought, I need to seek the approval of God----maybe.
Years ago I suggested to a small group we spend 24 hours picturing Christ literally with us (parents of teens love to suggest this to their kids heading out on a date or to a party). Seriously, what would the dinner conversation sound like if the 3 dimensional flesh and blood Christ was sitting at the table--I wonder what I would serve? I wonder what grace would sound like, how it might change our attitudes of clearing the dishes? What topics we would discuss--how might we discuss other people and circumstances, if Jesus was throwing his two cents into the give and take?
Would I try to impress by caring and kindness that I don't really feel (yes). Would I be nervous (yes). Would the tone of my voice be squeeky (yes).
Are those reactions absurd (yes).
Why? Because His presence is already there. Why would I pretend to be different (better) around him just because I can see if he parts his hair on the right or left side?
Living aware of that presence is the key to me not wandering, roaming into that dangerous corner. The reality of recognizing and standing/living in the presence of Christ is constructive, and roaming into the dangerous corner of where I think I stand in relation to those around me, is inviting some self inflicted poisonous wounds.