Summary: This message is aimed to help people fight temptation.
How to Fight Temptation
Mark Anthony was known as the silver-throated orator of Rome.
He was a brilliant man, strong leader, and a courageous soldier.
But the one thing he lacked was the strength to say ‘no’ to temptation.
On the outside he was impressive and magnificent.
But on the inside he was weak and vulnerable.
On one occasion, his tutor became so enraged, that he shouted at him: “O Marcus! O colossal child ... able to conqueror the world but unable to resist a temptation!”
British writer, Oscar Wilde, who once said, “I can resist anything but temptation.”
Today I want to talk with you and the anatomy of a sin,
We are preaching through the book of James, a very practical book.
A book we might call, “Religion in Shoe Leather.”
And this morning I want to equip you to face temptation.
You as a Christian are at war with Satan and one of his biggest weapons is the weapon of temptation.
One of the weapons used so often by enemies in war is to lace a piece of land with land mines.
In the same way Satan has filled your everyday life with mines, but they are not land mines.
They are lust mines.
If you could picture your life as an open field, as you walk through it you are going to have to be very careful and avoid stepping on lust mines.
For when you do, they will explode into sin.
James will give us some great words of wisdom today.
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. 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 when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.
James 1:13-18 (ESV)
The word for trials and temptations is the same word in the Greek language but in reality it has two different meanings.
The context of these words provides the key to understanding the difference.
A trial is a hardship or a problem or a trouble that inevitably comes into every person’s life, and these are tests sent by God to make us stronger.
Temptations, however, are inducements to do wrong.
They are enticements to do evil.
Trials are designed to make us stand.
Temptations are to make us stumble.
Someone may have asked James, “If God brings trials into our lives in order to test us, what if we do not pass the test? What if blow it as a result of the trial God has sent our way?”
James answers that question by telling us that one must distinguish between testing times and tempting times.
James wants to help you to resist the temptation that comes along with the trial.
For every trial brings temptation.
Every external trial comes with an inner enticement to sin.
Financial difficulty can tempt us to question God’s care for our lives.
The death of a loved on can tempt us to question’s God’s love for us.
The suffering of righteous poor people when the wicked rich are taking it easy, can cause us to question God’s justice.
Testing almost always includes temptation.
1. Recognize the SOURCE of Temptation
James is not going to allow anyone who is tempted to blame God.
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.
It is an interesting thing how man from the very beginning of time has tried to blame God for his sin, it’s amusing as you think about Adam and Eve when they fell in the Garden of Eden.
But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”