Summary: The Christian servant has a responsibility to handle temptation properly; He or she must take personal responsibility for his or her sin.
"The Devil Made Me Do It," James 1:12-18
Paul Redwine, Northside Christian Church, Sunday, July 6, 2003
[READ TEXT, James 1:12-18]
Verse 12 is a reminder: the servant who endures trials passes the tests in life will:
1. Be blessed
2. Receive the crown of life
Now we see by the context of verses 13-18 that there is a particular type of trial that James discusses.
Verse 13 -- the context shows that this particular type of trial is temptation.
Matthew 6:13, Jesus prays, " . . . and lead us not into temptation . . ."
Examples of temptations people face today:
-- Pornographic temptation
-- Sexual temptation
-- Food temptation
[ILLUSTRATION - JOKE] Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.” Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog. Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.” “You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl. “Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie. “We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another. “Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.” “What is willpower?” asked Toad. “Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do,” said Frog. “You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?” asked Toad. “Right,” said Frog. Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Grog. Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf. “There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “ But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog. Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voice. “Hey, birds, here are cookies!” Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away. “Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.” “Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.” “You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.” -- Renewal, Ray & Anne Ortlund, 1989, Navpress, pp. 73-74
Greed -- temptation to work too much or steal money
[ILLUSTRATION] Have you heard the folk story of the bandit Jose’ Rivera, who became notorious in several little towns in Texas for robbing their banks and businesses? Finally the townsfolk, weary of the constant plundering, hired a ranger to track down Jose’ Rivera in his hideout in Mexico and retrieve the money. The ranger at last arrived at a desolate, ramshackle cantina. At the counter he saw a young man enjoying his brew. At one of the tables, hands over his ample stomach, hat over his eyes, snored another patron. With much gusto, the ranger approached the young man at the bar and announced that he was on a mission to bring back Jose’ Rivera, dead or alive. “Can you help me find him?” he asked. The young man smiled, pointed to the other patron, and said, “That is Jose’ Rivera.”
The ranger shifted his southern girth and ambled over to the sleeping bandit, tapping him on the shoulder, “Are you Jose’ Rivera? he asked. The man mumbled, “No speak English.” The ranger beckoned to the young man to help him communicate his mission.
The ensuing conversation was tedious. First the ranger spoke in English and the young man translated it into Spanish. Jose’ Rivera responded in Spanish, and young man repeated the answer in English for the ranger.
Finally, the ranger warned Jose’ Rivera that he had two choices; the first was to let him know where all the loot he had stolen was hidden, in which case he could walk away a free man. The second choice was that if he would not reveal where the money was stashed, he would be shot dead instantly. The young man translated the ultimatum.