Summary: We can have victory because God is greater than the temptation that comes our way, God has determined that we will ultimately gain victory over sin, and He is FOR US in this current struggle.
Why do I sin?
In a lovers dispute in Alaska, 28 year old Gordon Druck, was charged with misdemeanor assault and second-degree felony burglary for allegedly pushing his girlfriend to the ground and later breaking into the village school where she was hiding from him.
He told troopers “I couldn’t help myself. I was mad. If I can’t have her nobody could.”
Why do we lose control?
Why do we continue in our sinful habits?
Why do we do the very things that bring destruction into our lives?
Why do we do things that in a moment of greater clarity we would admit that we really do not want to do?
The answer is found in James 1:13-18.
James 1:13–18 "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. " "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. " "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. " "Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. " "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. " "Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
The end of this passage gives us hope. In spite of the sin described in verses 13-15, God promises us that our ultimate destiny is to be a “firstfruits of his creatures.” Of all the amazing aspects of God’s creation, his redeemed people are the crowing jewel. God wants us to be victors!
Knowing that God has destined us for victory enables us to see our struggle with sin as a struggle that will ultimately be overcome. In that struggle, we can grow in victory every day by applying the truths contained in this portion of James. This passage is one of the clearest statements of truth concerning the reason we sin and what we can do about it.
I. Victory Over Sin is Possible because TEMPTATION does not come from God. James 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one."
This is the first NEGATIVE command found in James. In this truth we are reminded that God is SUPREME over all things. He is in control of the amount and degree of temptation that can come into our lives. 1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." Knowing this, we can be assured that since temptation does not come from God, its source is subordinate to God’s control and therefore limited.
God is FOR US. Romans 8:31–32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Romans 6:14 "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace."
We can have victory because God is greater than the temptation that comes our way, God has determined that we will ultimately gain victory over sin, and He is FOR US in this current struggle.
II. Victory is Possible because Your HEART is a Movable Object. James 1:14
There are four lessons from the wording of James 1:14 "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire."
1. Temptation boils up in side of us. “Desire” Greek epithumia. Originally, the root of this word meant to boil over. It described smoke rising up out of the flames. “The words denote the direct impulse towards food, sexual satisfaction and also desire in general” TDNT. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 168.
2. We have no one to blame but ourselves. The word “own” is emphatic. The desire comes from within.
3. Temptation draws us out and leaves us exposed. “Drawn out” “This and the following word are metaphors from hunting and fishing. Drawn away, as beasts are enticed from a safe cover into a place beset with snares. Note the present participle, as indicating the progress of the temptation: “is being drawn away.” Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 729.