As we journey toward understanding what it takes to win at life, it is important to see what James says about the difference between a trial and a temptation. The clear difference is intent. A trial is something you are meant to overcome, to succeed against. A temptation is something you are meant to fail. The difference is in the intention of the source.
A temptation is a lie to rebuke. A trial is a truth to navigate.
God allows trials. They give us an opportunity to choose. Our acceptance in God’s eyes is unconditional. But there is more for us! A “crown of life”. The fruit of our love for him. For this, he allows trials. He wants us to succeed. He longs for us to succeed.
We love to blame God. To call him out for “tempting” us. But only Satan (via our flesh) tempts, because Satan is the one who wants us to fail. We are dragged away by our own desires toward sin and temptation. It is not God’s fault. Our own lust tempts us, dragging us away and enticing us with our desire for things other than God. Satan has his part to play, but sin is “conceived” when we choose our lust over God’s love. When we chose our temptations over his trials. Once conceived, our unchecked sin can “give birth to death”.
If winning at life is overcoming our trials, it is important to distinguish between trials and temptations. God is the author of life. He is rooting for our success. Stewarding trials and rebuking temptations develops the Image of God within us.