November 25

Isaiah 6:3-5 (NIV) 3And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

In Isaiah chapter 5, Isaiah was pronouncing words of woe to the corrupt society in which he lived. In chapter 6, the king had died. Isaiah went into the house of God and saw a vision of God's throne. Angelic beings were flying about the throne singing to each other, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." The sound of their voices was so powerful that the doorposts and foundations shook.

Isaiah was no longer pronouncing woes on others. There in the presence of God, in the light of His holiness, Isaiah saw his own sinfulness. He pronounced woe upon himself. A vision of God's holiness reveals the depths of our sinfulness. The realization of his own depravity caused him to say he was ruined. The Hebrew word can be translated 'unraveled'. Like a rug that had come unwoven, Isaiah felt as if he had fallen apart.

The first thing he noticed was the words he had spoken. The words we speak reveal our wicked heart. We live around people who are constantly speaking unkind, corrupt, and ungrateful words. We tend to speak like those we are around. In the light of God's perfections, Isaiah saw this as his most blatant rebellion against God. We need a greater revelation of God to see by contrast how great our sin is and how desperately we need to change.

Consider: Jesus said that whoever loves truth comes to the light. Step into the light and let your need be revealed.

November 25

James 1:13-15 (NIV) 13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Man tends to think that the temptation in front of him is from God. God never tempts us to sin. He does test us. There is a difference. To tempt is to entice to act contrary to God's character. Why would God ever do such a thing?

If a temptation is not from God, then we assume it is from the devil, just as the serpent tempted Eve. James says that temptation comes from our own evil desire. The devil only acts on the evil desire already in our heart. Don't look outward when you give in to temptation. Look within your own heart. There is an evil desire there that is not surrendered to the lordship of Christ.

James draws an interesting picture of the process of that developing desire. You have probably seen it in others' lives or even your own. First, the evil desire drags them away. That implies that the person is not totally willing to go in that direction. Desire can be a powerful force. Then it seduces your thoughts. The desire gives birth to sin. The grandchild of desire, through its son, sin, is death. The wages of sin is death. What a horrific chain of actions take place in the lives of those who allow evil desires to drag them away.

The only way out of the cycle is to submit your desires to the life changing power of Christ. If you have been crucified with Him, the desire is brought to the cross and dealt with.

Consider: Evil desires are like venomous snake pets. You may think you can handle them, but eventually they will kill you.