Summary: A look at the subject of temptation from James 1 and various other Bible texts
Temptation comes to the child of God in many ways, but James tells us that "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed" (James 1:14) teaching us that the source of temptation is the lust within man, not necessarily the devil as most of us would think. He goes on telling us: "Then when lust hath conceived it brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished, brings forth death." The natural progression is:
1. Man is drawn away by the conception of the child: indwelling lust, being enticed
2. Lust, then, becomes the Mother of all sin
3. Sin follows and becomes the Grand-Mother of all death.
The Inevitability of Temptation is a fact of life James tells us by concluding: "Every man is tempted, when..." So, temptation is in fact inevitable, it is going to happen to each and every one of us. Our responsibility is to learn how to effectively gain victory over temptation for the Bible clearly teaches: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also, make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13)
Dealing Biblically with temptation’s source, lust, is God’s way of escape. Paul continues in I Corinthians 10:14 to supply us with the negative method of dealing with temptation: "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." Removing ourselves from the presence of temptation whenever possible is the best method of victory. By making "Not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14) we can eliminate the source of temptation. We are also told to: "Flee fornication" (I Corinthians 6:18); "Flee these things" (the will (desire) to be rich, the love of money, covetousness- I Timothy 6:11); "Flee youthful lusts" (II Timothy 2:22).
These commands are immediately followed by the positive commands designed to replace and control these lustful desires: "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14); "Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s." (I Corinthians 6:20); "Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:11,12); "Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace" (II Timothy 2:22).
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians when dealing with controlling these same lusts He commands: "Put off all these...put on the new man...Put on therefore as the elect of God... And above all these things put on charity...And let the peace of God rule in your hearts...Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly..." (Colossians 3:8-16) Here, Paul gets down to the specific activity whereby we can control our lust... by controlling our thinking! All sinful acts are born in the thoughts of the minds of men, it is there we must gain control!
Putting the Word of God in our hearts and minds directly replaces the old way of thinking, the "old man" is now replaced by the "new man" as we are "renewed in the spirit of out mind." The direct result of this blessed activity is: "Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord." which is in essence the same result of being filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18,19) This one Biblically commanded activity gives us the ability to minister to others, ourselves, and the Lord!