Summary: This message encourages believers to understand the nature of trials and their results.
Trials and Temptations: Who¡¦s Responsible?
We¡¦ve all heard the old saying that the two certainties in life are death and taxes. As accurate as that might be, I¡¦d like to suggest two more certainties ¡V trials and temptations. As soon as we are mature enough to have some idea of what is going on around us, we begin to feel the power and influence of these two realities.
Since trials and temptations are certainties, we need to understand where they come from and how they operate. In James 1:12-18, James deals with some key issues related to trials and temptations. In these verses, James goes beneath the surface of trials and temptations to demonstrate the inner workings and results of them. In particular, James deals with the issue of the their nature (what are they?) and their result (what do they produce?).
I. Trials test our faith to produce perseverance which results in
blessing (vv. 1-4, 12).
A. A quick refresher course in trials (vv. 1-4).
1. We should be joyful when all kinds of trials
test our faith.
2. We rejoice because trials produce perseverance.
3. Perseverance brings maturity.
B. A final element in the process of trials.
1. Those who persevere through trials are blessed.
This is a beatitude.
a. It refers to the pleasure God takes in such
b. It refers to the joy such a person receives.
2. The blessing of perseverance is a crown of life.
a. The crown refers to the wreath given to the
victor in the races.
b. This crown is a crown of life. In other words,
the crown is life.
1) Not physical life.
2) Eternal life.
3. This crown is for every believer.
a. All true believers love God.
b. An indicator of that love is perseverance in
the midst of trials.
APP: Surely, this is what Paul had in mind in 2 Cor. 4:16-18 when he said,
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So, with verse 12, James puts the last piece in place regarding trials. The immediate purpose of trials is to produce perseverance. The ultimate result of perseverance is blessing. It is the blessing of eternal life. It is not that we earn eternal life by persevering. Rather, after we have persevered, eternal life awaits us. The promise of life encourages us to persevere. The glory of heaven helps us endure difficulty on earth.
TS ¡V James now shifts the focus from trials to temptations.
II. Temptations assault us to produce sin which results in death
A. The connection between trial and temptation.
1. The same Greek term is used for both. It is the
2. James is indicating to us that temptations always
accompany trials. They are not the same but any
given circumstance can present both a trial and a
ILL: Let¡¦s say that a man gets laid off from work. That is a trial. He begins to experience the pressure of needing income. Temptation then uses that same circumstance to lure him into stealing.
Or what about a person whose spouse has grown distant toward them. That is a trial. The person begins to feel the need for some attention and affection. Temptation then uses that same circumstance to lure them into an affair.
The fact that trials and temptations often come together compels James to address the issue of temptation.
B. The temptation to blame God for temptation.
1. Some who are under heavy trials and begin to feel
the power of temptation might blame God for it.
God brings adversity into the lives of His people.
God brought adversity into my life.
In times of adversity, I am tempted.
If I yield to the temptation, it is sin.
Therefore, God must be the source of my temptation.
If I fail, it must be God¡¦s fault because He tempted me.
ILL: We see this same scenario played out in the garden of Eden with the original temptation to sin. After they fell, Adam and Eve both wanted to pin the blame on God. Adam said, ¡§It¡¦s the woman You gave me.¡¨ Eve said, ¡§It¡¦s the serpent¡¦s fault.¡¨
C. The fallacy of blaming God for temptation.
1. James unequivocally warns us against blaming God
for temptation. Let no one say when he is tempted¡K
2. James gives us some proofs why God is never
responsible for temptation.
o The nature of God. God cannot be tempted by evil nor does he tempt anyone. The Greek literally says God is ¡§inexperienced¡¨ in evil. His holy, perfect, sinless nature makes it impossible for Him to be influenced by evil or to influence others with evil.