Summary: We do not have to continue to fall into temptation.. we have the power to resist and gain the victory
RESISTING AND OVERCOMING TEMPTATION (JAMES 1:14-22)
TEMPTATION MANIPULATES OUR DESIRES TO BRING FORTH SIN
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.
Sin is our own responsibility. Of course, the devil is the author of temptation, but he has to have something to use in the first place. There are some things which, if Satan tried to tempt you with, you would just laugh. To some the smell of alcohol is a very great problem. To others it is a nauseating stench. It is similar with various things. Some of us find sexual perversion disgusting; others find it enticing! We have to deal with lust by getting associated with purity. If you hang around a holy God for long enough then lust and inappropriate activity will give you up.
THE DECISION IS YOURS
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
We are deceived when we blame others for our failings. You may have had a difficult upbringing, but your parents are not to blame for the choices you make. The devil cannot be blamed for them either. The old joke, “The devil made me do it!” is not applicable. You made your decision. Every sin is a wilful decision of yours.
So long as we are in this world we are exposed to temptations, and need ever to be on guard against them.
Jesus taught us to pray:
"And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matt. 6:13).
The Bible gives many warnings to be careful because of the ever-present danger of falling into temptation:
"Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’’ (Luke 22:40)
If you are walking with the Lord you will still be available to the tempter because Jesus was. However, you will not fall into it. You will have the power of God, the Word of God, to resist and overcome.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1)
When a person does fall we do not have the right to judge and be harsh. There may be the need of discipline; BUT DISCIPLINE SHOULD ALWAYS BE WITH A VIEW TO RESTORATION. It is interesting that Jesus told us to be quick to forgive, and keep on forgiving. Our job is to help the fallen one back onto his feet and then assist him to begin to serve the Lord again. I find it quite astonishing that we sometimes ask a person who has failed to exclude themselves from ministry for two, three or five years. Peter bitterly let the Lord down, but just seven weeks later he was responsible for three thousand conversions.
RESIST THE DEVIL
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. (I Pet. 5:8-9).
In the Old Testament the simple word for adversary is Satan. He is an opponent or foe, one that speaks against another, a complainant, an enemy (Luke 18:3).
However, the Bible assures us that God will make a way of escape from temptation:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13),
"the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation ..." (2 Pet. 2:9a).
Here are some suggestions as to how to escape temptation:
(1) Do not put yourself in the way of temptation. There are some of us who deliberately go where the sin is! We may be trying to prove how strong we are, but this is foolishness in the extreme. I once met a man who proudly told me that he had spent his entire day subjecting himself to his own weakness to prove that God had delivered him from it. Just a few months later the guy was back in his old sin.
(2) Get help. By admitting your faults to those you know you can trust they may well help you from falling into error. The emphasis here is on “Those you can trust.” And the problem is that there are so few of them. What a blight we are in the world when we who should have integrity and should be able to hold confidences are so untrustworthy. We will even hide behind telling another so that they can pray in order to be able to pray. I am horrified at how many secrets I have been told. They were never intended for my ears and yet the person entrusted with them has seen fit to share them with me.