Victory over temptation. James 1:12-15

Points Covered: Wisdom over temptation. What is temptation? How to deal with temptation? Victory over temptation. Overcoming Temptation.

Temptation is a part and parcel of life. Everywhere we turn in this world, we are tempted to do this and that and most often people succumb to their temptation. What is the most powerful temptation you face in your life today? What is the thing that really gets your attention that tempts you and makes you fail in a particular area and you end up living in disobedience to God? Have you thought about what your weaknesses are and are you working on them?

Temptation means a strong desire to do something, especially something wrong morally or legally.

Someone said, “Temptation is enjoying God given desires beyond God given boundaries.”

Love is a God-given gift and it is fine to love someone. When a person goes after someone in a way you lose your testimony and integrity or to lust after them is beyond God given boundaries. Temptation lies before us every day. Some are tempted to steal, tempted to hate, tempted to lust, to look, to think, tempted to addictions, tempted to lie, tempted to boast, tempted for money etc.

What does the Bible say about temptation? James 1:12-15 12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I was talking to someone who said, “Pastor, you do not know my situation. If you were in my shoes, you would do what I do.” Listen, no temptation has come your way except what is not common to man. God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able. God will also provide a way out in your temptation so that you can endure it.

This is a promise for believers that God will help you in times of temptation. If you do not have Jesus as your Lord and Father, this promise of overcoming temptation is not for you.

With this in mind let us go a little further into this matter of temptation?

1. Temptation is not from God.

James 1:13 God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: Out temptation is not from God. The first temptation of Adam and Eve did not come from God.

2. Temptation is common to everyone.

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Every person is going to be tempted at some point or the other. Both believers and non-believers will be tempted. Since temptation is common to everyone, temptation in itself is not sin. Jesus was tempted and yet he did not sin.

3. Temptation provides opportunities for promotion.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

It is most often God watches us when we go through temptations and when we overcome, he will promote us. Joseph.

4. Everyone has different temptations in life.

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Satan is going to tempt you where you can be tempted easily. We all have areas of weakness in our life where satan is going to attack. He is not going to attack you in the area of your strength. He will find out your weakness and he will bring a situation where he can tempt you and make you sin. His goal is get you out of the will of God and bring you pleasure for a moment and tempt you out of God’s will.

5. Man is tempted by his own lust.

Our temptation is because of the lust of man. Each person has its own patterns of fleshly desire, as a result of his environment and his upbringing and his personal choices. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Drawn away or enticed are two interesting words. The first one comes from hunting. And it is used of luring an animal into a trap. A trap is baited and the animal is lured into the trap. Enticed is a fishing term. That word means to catch a fish with a baited hook.

Illustration: I remember going fishing with my grandfather. He would take fish feed and fasten it to a hook and put it deep down into the river. In a matter of time, a strong and free fish is caught with a baited hook, killed and cooked for great food.

2 Peter 2:14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling (enticing and luring away) unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices

2 Peter 2:18 They allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness.

The problem is this, every person is tempted when the hook or trap is baited and we are lured away by our own lust. What pulls us so strongly to the bait? Is it God? No. Is it Satan? No, Satan baits the hook. Satan uses friends, media, circumstances etc to bait the hook and the lust of each man pulls him to the trap. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Each individual has his own particular bent of lust, which is really the thing that lures him to the bait. It is said that one person’s passion is another person’s repulsion. I see people who are literally, by their lust, driven into homosexuality. That absolutely repulses somebody else. You can bait that hook all you want in front of some people and they will go the other direction. Some people are never tempted by wine. You put how many ever bottles in front of them, they will not take a drink but they are prone to some other temptation. We all have a certain characteristics of our lust which make some baited traps and baited hooks more alluring to us than others.

The world, wicked men, demons and the devil all surrounded Jesus Christ throughout his entire life and yet, he never sinned because there was never in him any lust. There was no pull. Nothing put on the hook attracted him in any way. You see, the problem was not the tempter, the problem is the traitor within.

6. The result of temptation – Death.

James 1:14-15 14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

When lust has conceived – Lust is shown here as a mother conceiving. When a mother is conceived, one day she will bring forth a child. The child is sin and sin when it comes forth it doesn’t do anything, but produce what? Death.

Sin is a killer. The wages of sin is what? Death. Spiritual death, separating the soul from God. Physical death, separating the soul from the body, eternal death, separating the soul and body from God. And he’s not here particularly talking about Christians or non-Christians, he’s just saying, all sin ever produces is death. Even for a believer, it can be physical death.

Sin starts with a desire. Desire is related to emotion. It begins with that feeling of wanting to be satisfied. Something that’s been dangled in front of your face. It makes you feel a longing. That’s where it all starts. Sin begins with a desire.

It leads to deception. Deception happens in your mind. What happens is, you start with the desire in your emotion and then it comes to a deception in your mind because you begin to justify and rationalize the right that you have for that which you desire. Now, that’s what we found in verse 14, being drawn away and enticed. The hook is baited, the trap is baited. It deceives the intellect. The intellect looks and says, I have a right to that. That looks good. That will satisfy me. That will meet my need. That will quench my desire.

And so what starts with desire in the emotion moves to deception in the mind. So Lust conceives.

It leads to a design. Now the concept of how you are going to pull the sin off begins to form. You have gone from the emotions, to the mind, now your will is active and your toying with your mind. What your mind has already concluded, your will is forming into a design.

Until now you have not committed the sin. You are not guilty of the sin. The devil is waiting for you to commit it. But there is temptation and you give in.

It leads to disobedience. The act occurs. The child is born, it brings forth sin.

Now, the devil is waiting. When sin is conceived, it leads to death.

Just think about that imagery, the reason that animals are baited and trapped, and fish are baited and trapped is because the bait looks good. And instead of the anticipated pleasure when they grab the bait, comes the pain of capture and death, so it is with temptation. It dangles out there and it promises a tasty indulgence. It promises a satisfying morsel. It promises greater pleasure, fun, reward, and it lures the suckered victim into its trap and hook into a deadly way.

What is the multi-multi billon dollar business of pornography all about? It is about somebody lusting at someone, thinking about it, visualizing it until finally the devil brings them down. It is a satanic attack upon a person’s mind, emotions, their will and their body.

We put our children home or buy them a phone or a computer and accidently they come across something unwanted. The first response is they are scared but the next thought satan uses is they are drawn into it and satan uses every single possible means of destroying you and your family. Multi-multi billion dollar business built on satan’s approach to lure men and women.

Victory over temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1. Watch and Pray.

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

2. Have a renewed mind.

At what point then in our lives do we deal with sin? At the level of act? No, we need to deal with sin way back when temptations cross our way. If lust makes it from the mind to the will and something is conceived, it will be born.

You cannot expose your emotions continually to things, which lure you away from the things of God. You need the mind of Christ. You need a renewed mind. You need a mind that is set on things above and not on things on the earth. You need a mind that is saturated in the word of Christ dwelling in it richly.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” What’s in your mind? If your mind feeds on the word of God then you are going to stop sin way back. If your emotions are under control of the spirit of God and your feelings have been brought captive to him, you are going to stop sin back where it starts.

1 Corinthians 2:16 But we have the mind of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

3. Flee from temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality.

1 Timothy 2:22 Flee the desires of youth.

Consider Joseph. Consider Daniel. Destroy that which may be an instrument of sin and downfall.

4. Be Alert to stay away from temptation.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We need to be careful because the devil uses baited hooks against man to trap him in temptation.

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Don’t allow curiosity to keep the television on.

Don’t leave that bottle of booze there on that shelf.

Don’t be alone with your computer screen.

Don’t allow a situation to develop & put you in a bad situation.

Proverbs 6:27-28 27Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? 28Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?

5. Ask God to satisfy your desires.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. What it’s saying is God is going to poor out good, good, good, good, good, good and more good, why in the world are you going after baited hooks to be satisfied when God is pouring out everything you could ever use for all your satisfaction.

How do I get my needs met? How do I satisfy my desires?

We have financial needs, sexual needs, emotional needs, all kinds of need. God wants to meet our need and we can get our needs met God’s way in God’s time. But most of the time we are impatient and we push ourselves to meet our need in our way and our time. Take my word, If I want to get my needs met in my way and my time we will fall prey to temptation.

Conclusion:

Augustine, the great saint of God had lived with an adulterer before his conversion. After he was wonderfully saved, he was walking down the street and this adulterer saw him. She shouted his name and he kept walking. He saw her, but kept his eyes straightforward and walked. She continued crying after him and ran after him. And finally, she said, Augustine, it is I. To which he replied, I know, but it is no longer I. That’s right: Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

We are a new creation. We have in us that new creation that allows us to overcome evil . Hebrews 4:14-16 1Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Let’s pray.


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