James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
In the Lord’s prayer there is the passage, “and lead us not into temptation”. I heard a Bible teacher many years ago paraphrase this in a very helpful way, “Lord, let there not be anything in my heart that would cause you to put me to the test.” God does not tempt anyone with evil but He does provide testing situations that will bring things into the light that need to be exposed and dealt with.
In the story of the prodigal son the return of the younger brother afforded the older brother just such an ‘opportunity’. The older brother reacted to his father’s positive response to the return of his younger brother. His negative reaction revealed much that was going on in his heart that both he and his father might not have been aware of. Even though he was apparently doing things ‘right’ on the outside, his heart contained much that was not ‘right’.
We might not realize it but this is a primary way that God deals with us. He allows circumstances to come into our lives that reveal what is going on within us. Frequently these circumstances involve unpleasant or difficult things. We might respond rightly – or in the event we don’t He makes us aware of what is within us and gives us the gift of an opportunity to repent!
Sometimes this happens where only He and we are aware of what needs to be repented of. Other times it happens with more people involved. In either situation, we have a choice to make. Are we going to recognize our need for repentance or are we going to ignore what the Holy Spirit is showing us about ourselves? This process plays such an important role in His transforming us into the image of Jesus.
Hopefully, when such things happen in our lives and we respond wrongly, we will recognize our sin and repent. Further it is important to cultivate a heart of gratitude for such workings of the Holy Spirit. If He didn’t allow us to see our sin, we would never change. Think of it this way. He allows us to see where the ‘termites’ are in our dwelling. And who wouldn’t want to get rid of the termites?