Summary: While we will never be pefect, we can learn to avoid sin by controlling temptation
HOW TO TAME TEMPTATION
JAMES 1: 12-16
1. Illus. of Cliff
Head of a charitable organization who handled hundreds of thousands of $$$ each year. Unexpected audit turned up the fact that he had embezzled thousands of $$$ Wife told him, “you’ve broken my heart, embarrassed our families, lost your testimony, ruined your career. How could you have done it?” “Every day I looked at the money and looked at our bills piling up. I just could not resist the temptation.”
2. We can identify with that, can’t we? If we would be honest, we would admit that every single day each and every one of us struggles with temptation. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but always we struggle!
3. There isn’t a Christian in this room that hasn’t gone to the throne broken hearted saying, “Father, I don’t know how I could have done this terrible thing. Please show me how to resist temptation.”
4. As Solomon said, “there is no new thing under the sun…” The early church struggled with temptation just like we do. James wrote to the early first century church and explained temptation to them so that they might be able to overcome it.
5. It is possible for the Christian to be victorious over temptation!
6. How can we overcome temptation? James gives us three keys.
I. WE CAN OVERCOME TEMPTATION BY UNDERSTANDING OUR VULNERABILITY TO TEMPTATION
1. See vs 14 Enticed is the devil’s part of temptation. It is a fishing word, commonly used to describe the way a fisherman dangles bait in front of a fish. Satan dangles a temptation in front of us and says, “look at this!”
The reason Satan’s temptation is so powerful is explained by the phrase, drawn away of his own desires. We think of desire as being a sexual word. James uses it to refer to the evil cravings of our sinful nature.
2. The reason we are so vulnerable to temptation is that there is something inside us that is attracted toward sin!
3. Illus. of chocolate
• Ladies will fix something chocolate and put it in refrigerator. All day long, I swear I can hear that chocolate calling me! The reason that cake attracts me so much is that I have an inward craving for it! The reason temptation is such a temptation is that inside me is this attraction toward sin!
4. I Corinthians 10:12. If you think you are too spiritual for temptation, you are going to fall into sin.
5. If you are running around thinking, “oh boy I’m mister super-christian. The one thing I don’t have to worry about is temptation and sin” then you are on a collision course with disaster!
6. The Christian who overcomes temptation is the one who says, “since I am so incredibly vulnerable to sin, I have to rely day by day on the provision of Jesus Christ!”
II. WE CAN OVERCOME TEMPTATION BY FLEEING THE PRESENCE OF TEMPTATION
1. According to vs 14, temptation occurs when Satan dangles an enticement to sin before us, and our inner sinful nature says, “I want that.”
2. James goes a step further in vs 15. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” When our inner craving is allowed to carry on a flirtation with Satan’s outer enticement, the result is always, inevitably, and invariably going to be sin!
3. What is James telling us? Don’t stay in the presence of Satan’s enticement. When you see that you are in a situation where you are being tempted, get out of there! Don’t say, “I’m spiritual enough that I can play with this temptation without giving into it.” Flee from it!
4. Illus. of Jeff
• A member of our accountability group. Confessed that a young woman in an office supply where he bought supplies for the church was giving signals of interest. He also confessed that he had started buying just a part of what he needed each time, so that he would have a reason to go by several times a week. When he asked us what to do, both the psychologist and the SBC pastor said, “start buying supplies somewhere else!” Flee from Satan’s enticement!
5. James not only place where we are advised to do this:
• I Tim. 6:11 “flee these things…”
• II Tim. 2:22 “flee youthful lusts…”
• I Cor. 6:18 “flee sexual immorality…”
6. Tempted by member of opposite sex? Don’t make excuses to be able to see them- flee! Do alcohol or drugs tempt you? Don’t go where you know they will be, and if you should accidentally go into a place where they are being given out, turn and leave immediately- flee!
III. WE CAN OVERCOME TEMPTATION BY WEIGHTING THE COST OF TEMPTATION
1. See vs 15b- When desire and enticement flirt, they will have a baby named sin. When the baby is full-grown, the inevitable result is death.