Summary: All of us are tempted every day. There is a process we go through before we make a decision to give in to the temptation or not to give in to the temptation. The record of David and Bathsheba is such an example.
All of us are tempted every day. Satan is trying to find something that will stick in our minds that we will act on. So I said to God “Father, there has to be a process we go through before we make a decision to give in to the temptation or not to give in to the temptation.” And sure enough, there is.
Before we look at that process, I want to talk about a couple of things. Satan is the great accuser. He throws things against the wall hoping that something will stick. And what the Lord tells him every time “That’s not the Barry I know. He now has My life and nature and that no longer applies to him.”
Satan is always going to accuse you before God. And he’s going to accuse you to make you feel like you’re less than who you truly are.
When it comes to this area of temptation, I think it’s very significant that the Bible calls Satan, when he’s tempting us, the devil. The word “devil” is diabolos and it paints the image of water dropping onto something like a piece of wood. And over time, the constant dropping of the water will begin to make an impression. And if you if you leave the wood there long enough, eventually you’ll see a hole.
This is what the Bible is talking about when it describes the devil as diabolos. He doesn’t care how long it takes. He is willing to come after you over and over and over until he drills a hole that will allow him to get into your life and cause you to sin.
And we’re going to see that this morning when we look at the issue of temptation. There is an old Baptist hymn that I love and it’s called “Yield not to Temptation.” “Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin.” Notice that the temptation is not the issue. The yielding is the issue.
Turn to James 1. We’re going to begin in verse 12.
(12) Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
It says blessed is the man who “perseveres under trial or test”. That’s what temptation means. The man going through the temptation is being tried, or approved. Think about this in term of making an instrument for example out of lead or copper. You try it with fire. You prove it to make sure it will do the job it’s supposed to do. So when we have gone through temptation, when we have been approved, what waits for us is the crown of life.
(13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Let no man say that when he is being tested or tried, he is being tested or tried by God. This is important. The testing or trying that this verse is talking about is a testing or trying to do evil. You need to see this. God is ‘temptation-proof.”
(14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Every man is tested and tried when he is drawn away by his own lusts or things within him that can be enticed. Remember, the temptation here is to do evil – to do something contrary to God’s Word. And we’re talking about men and women who are born again.
The word “enticed” is very interesting. It means the person, the Christian, is so excited about what he sees that he’s willing to flirt with it for the possibility of gratification to the flesh. This is not just a heat of the moment thing. The person has thought about this over a period of time. And this makes his decision to “give in” a deliberate decision.
(15) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Notice James is compares “lust” to “conception”. He painting the image of someone romancing the lust, the temptation, until it – now listen to me – until the lust conceives and gives birth to sin. Do you see this? Now pay attention to this. Once sin has been conceived it leads to death.
What James is telling us is that when we give in to temptation, when we romance it, when we get so excited about what this romancing is going to do for our flesh, it leads us into sin and ultimately is leads us to death. The death James is talking about is spiritual death unless we repent of our sin. I hope you see this.