Overcoming Temptation

James 1:13-15 (ESV) 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire (A)when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Every person is tempted! How we respond to temptation is an indicator of the genuineness of our faith.  In 1 Cor. 10:13 Paul says temptations are common to man.  We all face the battle of temptation.  We’re all tempted to do evil, so let’s not kid ourselves and think we’re not – temptation isn’t sin.  Temptation is a thought in the heart.  If we don’t deal with it, it will deal with us and the result will be sin.  There is a difference between these temptations and the testing of God that strengthens us.  12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  God’s tests make us strong to build faith and have endurance.

What types of temptation are not as commonly thought of but very important to God?

Is there any escape from being tempted?

Should we expect difficulties to increase or decrease?

What is the difference between trials and temptations?

What do God’s tests look like?

Every difficult circumstance that comes at us strengthens us when we depend on God through it. This results in more confidence and closeness with God.  If we respond to difficulty in a way that doubts God we stray away, doubt His plan, look to other means for comfort, and lose sight of the treasure that He is. The quicker we embrace how bankrupt we are without Gods help the better it will be. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  It is human nature to place blame on others for our faults.  Satan sets the bait but He’s not to blame for my sin.

Gen3:9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Both of their excuses place the blame on God and it’s been that way in the human mind ever since, God is to blame.  That’s why James confronted us with verse 13 – it’s not Gods fault.

Why is it so difficult to take responsibility for our mistakes?
Are we letting our blame go all the way back to God?

Every person has specific temptations that pull us away – you bait a bear differently than a rabbit.  There’s over eating, substance, sexual perversion, self-righteousness, pride, gossip, and endless numbers of others.  The universal problem is the sin nature, but there is also a universal answer:  the salvation of our souls.  We cannot be spiritually self-righteous because we have no spirituality without God.  We have no insight without God.  And because I am led away by my own evil desires and always have the potential to be, I need mercy to choose the way out that God provides in every temptation.

In verse 15 James shows the whole picture.  15 Then desire when it has conceived (conception is the joining or union of two things – sin is the joining of an outward temptation with our inward desires) – gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.  It’s like a child we’re raising – this is the parallel James is using – How do we allow sin to grow?  We keep it, let it linger, and entertain it.  We raise it like a child until it’s fully grown and then we reap the destruction.

Have we taken a sober evaluation of what our weaknesses are?

Why do we need God’s word at work in our lives?

The good news is there’s freedom and deliverance – I once was that person and I’m not above it now.  I’m a man that needs God’s help every day.

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