Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures
Probably the greatest statement in this paragraph is the simple fact that when we are tempted it does not come from God. When we re tempted the only thing we really can do is looking to ourselves. It does not matter what the sin is, all of it is conceived in our own hearts which leads to sin and that leads to death. Temptation is not a sin itself it is simply the lust of our own heart that desires something outside the commands of God. Only when we start to fulfill these desires that sin becomes a reality.
This is contrasted with God who is the author of all things that are good. God does not waver on this and none of his gifts require us to stay in darkness to receive them. God is about truth and goodness and so when we are tempted we can know for sure that the origin of that temptation is not God. Our own lust takes on the path to darkness and sin. There is no blaming God for our sinful state according to James. The man who overcomes temptation is blessed because he has learned to sail the right waters in the goodness and truth of God and learned also to avoid the temptations of his own heart that lay below the surface like rocks.
Next: Testing Your Faith – Part 5 (Chapter 1:19-25)