Summary: Temptation is a reality that we all face, this sermon will instruct believers on how to conquer it.


Growing Up Rather Than Giving - Part 4

James 1:12-18

We have looked at the reality of trials in our daily lives and the fact that we must make up our minds if we are to grow stronger and deeper in our faith and relationship with God. Decision determines destiny. Today I want us to look at something else that hinders and stops our spiritual growth. Temptation.

This reminds me of a little boy and his mom. She had just baked some fresh cookies and placed them on the counter to cool. The little boy made the comment to his mother about how good the cookies smelled. The mother told him he was not to eat any of the cookies. A few minutes passed and the mother walked back into the kitchen and caught the little boy eating one of the cookies. She asked for an explanation to which the little boy replied. " I climbed up on the counter to smell the cookies and my teeth got caught on one. "

I want us to look at what God has to say about man’s oldest problem: temptation. It goes all the way back to Adam. We all eventually face it. Sometimes even when you know what’s right to do it’s difficult to say "No". It is difficult to say no when you want to say yes.

We must remember 3 important facts about temptation:

1. God test us to develop our faith, our endurance and our character.

2. Satan tempts us to sin in order to destroy our lives and our relationship with God.

3. Temptations occurs when we feel compelled to satisfy or fulfill our God given desires in an ungodly and unlawful way.

v. 12 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him." There is a prize, a reward, for enduring temptation. First it said "blessed" -- happy. Happiness comes from having your life under control, so that there is no bad habit that is controlling you. When you know how to say "no" to temptation it produces happiness in your life. It also says there is a "crown of life". In the Greek this literally means "life itself". James says, when you understand temptation, when you overcome it, when you learn to say "no" then you begin to really live. It is a crown which is life -- abundant life -- itself.

The question is, How? How do I handle temptation? How do I say know when I want to say yes? James tells us the process by which we can conquer and overcome temptations. The process begins with an understanding:

I. We Need To Understanding The Problem of Temptation:

What is temptation? Temptation is the solicitation or an invitation to do evil. It is an opportunity presented to you to do something wrong. For example, It is good for you to pass a test, but it is wrong for you to cheat in order to pass the test. The test may be a trial, but the decision to cheat is a sin.

1. Be Realistic about our temptations:

Face the fact: You will be tempted. Even Christians are tempted. All of us are tempted. "When tempted ... " not "if tempted..." It’s just like trials, temptations are inevitable. Everybody’s tempted. You’re tempted. I’m tempted. Every day we’re tempted. You never get too old for it. You never overcome it by getting too spiritual. Everybody’s tempted. The more you grow toward the Lord, the more you’re going to be tempted. It’s a fact of life. Reality is all of us are tempted.

There’s a misconception that says, Once you’re born again you’ve got it all together. You’ve arrived. We all are tempted. I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man." Circle "common to man" -- that means we’re all in the same boat. We all have the same temptations, the same problems. Don’t be surprised, shocked. Don’t try to hide it. Some of you are caught in a compromising situation right now. But it is liberating to know that other people feel the same way I do. We all have the same struggles and problems.

It is not a sin to be tempted. It is a sin to give in to temptation. Hebrew 4:15 "Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are yet he sinned not." He was perfect. He was tempted but He never gave in. It’s not a sin to be tempted. It’s a sin to give into temptation. I meet a lot of Christians who are intimidated by temptation. They think "How could I have such a thought?" The devil put it in your mind; it’s not your fault. You are human. Temptation proves you’re human, not that you’re evil. It’s not a sin to be tempted, it’s a sin to give in to temptation. The more committed you are the more you’re going to be tempted.

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