Summary: A "How To Overcome Temptation" sermon. Practical insights for deaing with temptation. 1. Be REALISTIC 2. Be RESPONSIBLE 3. Be READY 4. Get REFOCUSED
Becoming Triumphant Over Temptation
(How To Overcome Temptation)
Today we are continuing an in depth study on the book of James. We have looked at how you can have power over your problems. We have discovered that God wants you to make wise decisions. Today we are going to see how you can be triumphant over temptation.
Remember God wants you to grow up. God wants you to become a Mature Christian. He wants you to reach Spiritual Maturity and He has given us a guide book – The Bible – to teach us how to become Spiritually Mature.
Remember that the book of James is a very practical book. It could be the most practical book in the Bible. It is a manual for Christian living. James starts out by giving practical advice right from the beginning of the book and continues through to the end. Let’s go ahead and read our text for today. It is found in James chapter one verses twelve through seventeen:
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:12-17 (NKJV)
There is a prize – a reward – for those who endure over temptation. That’s what James tells us in verse twelve.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 (NKJV)
The Bible tells us that those who endure temptation are blessed – in other words they are happy – and that they will receive the crown of life. Happiness comes from having a life that is under control. When you say no to temptation it produces happiness in your life. The question is, “How can I handle temptation? How can I be triumphant over temptation?” James gives us four principles to handle temptation. Here is the first:
1. Be REALISTIC About Temptation
Here is a fact: Everyone is TEMPTED
If you think that by being a Christian you will not be tempted – you are wrong. Everyone is tempted – even Christians are tempted. Look at what James tells us in the first part of verse thirteen:
“Let no one say when he is tempted,” James 1:13a (NKJV)
Go ahead and circle the word “when”. James does not say, “If you’re tempted.” He doesn’t say, “Should you be tempted.” He says, “When you’re tempted.” Temptation will happen. It’s a fact. You will never out grow it. You will never become so spiritual that you are never tempted. How can I say this – because throughout the Bible believers are tempted. Even Jesus was tempted! The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted at least three times by Satan himself.
Remember that after Jesus was baptized that He went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days? He had spent forty days in the wilderness in fasting and prayer. Then the Bible tells us that after the forty days, Satan comes along and tempts Jesus – asking Him to turn stones into bread. Asking Him jump off a pinnacle of the temple. Asking Him to bow down and worship him. You see even Jesus was tempted and you and I will be tempted too.
You know there’s a misconception going around. There’s a falsehood that’s being told by some people that says: “Once you’re born again – once you are a Christian – you’ve got it all together and you will never be tempted.” Folks this just isn’t true. We all have struggles. We all have weaknesses. We all are tempted. Look at what Paul tells us in First Corinthians chapter ten:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” 1 Corinthians 10:13a (NKJV)
Go ahead and circle the words – “common to man”. That means that we are all in the same boat. That means that we all have temptations and the temptations you’re dealing with – others are dealing with too. The same exact temptations you are struggling with – other Christians are struggling with too - they are "common to man". Here is a fact: Satan wants you to believe that you are the worst person around. He wants you to believe that there is no one as bad as you. We tell ourselves: "I must be bad to have such thoughts. I must be bad to think such things. How could I think such things?" Then we start asking, "Am I really saved? Have I really accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior? Surely Christians don’t think such things." But the fact is: we ALL are tempted. We all have the same problems and the same thoughts. They are “common to man”.