Saturday, October 22, 2011

James Week 3 - Walk It Out


This is a great video and song to go along with today's lesson. Watch it in preparation.

Now this next section is important. Speaking of the trials we have been talking about, they can come in many forms even trials through temptation. However, trials through temptations do not come from God. This is important to know. Remember in the context too that this letter was originally written for believers who have been dispersed. Being dispersed is a situation where many trials would surface. Also, temptation would be an issue too. Doubting God's love for you, His ability to provide, or a variety of other things come up. This section looks at temptation and sin. So let's dig right in.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. 
James 1:13-18 

"It is crucial for us to remember always that God tests people for good; he does not tempt people for evil. Even during temptation we can see God's sovereignty in permitting Satan to tempt us in order to refine our faith and help us grow in our dependence on Christ." ~Life Application Commentary

If you truly believe God is sovereign then it is important for you to know that Satan cannot do anything without God's permission. All things that come into our lives are to refine us and make us more like Christ, however Satan's purpose is to destroy. We show God great glory when we praise God anyway and persevere.

God however does give us a freewill to make choices. When Adam and Eve were in the perfect garden they had the perfect life and relationship with one another, creation, and with God. Because they let temptation give birth they made a choice that would forever change history. Sin is rampant on this earth. After this choice immediately they started to try to blame others for their own sinful choices. We see by these verses that "each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."

As much as we would like to blame God or Satan. The biggest struggle we have with sin is within our own selves. We must own up to this. When we do we can finally see our desperate need for a Savior. Until we see how utterly sinful we are we will resist the need for a Savior. It is in us and our hearts that sin comes forth. We are sinful creatures. We are selfish by nature. Yet God had a plan in place in the beginning. He knew we were dust. He knew we would be in this desperate state. Because He is holy He could not be with us in that state yet He loved us so He wanted to make a way. Jesus is the way, the only way to make us right with God. We were so sinful and desperate but so deeply loved a sacrifice came. In Christ we are made right with God. I love that. God extends His invitation but many do not except it for they cannot see their own need.

Temptation is very interesting in how it works. Basically as the verse lays out that a temptation is when someone is drawn out by bait because of his or her own desire or craving for something that is forbidden. Again it is our own desires we must own up to and take responsibility for. In Christ we have the ability to resist these temptations that come because they will come.

This is another important thing to remember...The first part is not yet sin. A temptation is the bait like a fish coming to the lure. It is not sin until it is caught then it goes forth to its death. Sin is like that. The initial temptation can be stopped from its conception. Let's look at some other Scriptures.

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" (Matthew 4:1). This verse is so interesting to me because look at who lead Jesus into the wilderness--The Holy Spirit. Again see that God has to allow this. It is part of the refining process. Look at who did the tempting, Satan. Jesus was without sin. Temptation is not bad it is when it is conceived that it is sin.

"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" (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we are tempted we must remember that God is faithful, temptations are of the same varieties that all men experience, God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability to endure, and He always provides a way of escape. We must find the escape and take it.

The process from temptation to sin goes like this, "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:15). When the evil desire takes us prisoner or is conceived it brings forth sin. When we give into it it is sin. Then this sin if not confessed and allowed to become mature or habitual results in death. Living in continual sinfulness brings separation from God. When we chose sin we reject God. Again it is our choice. We must own up to it.

So practically played out in a simple example, if you have a bad thought about someone this is the moment of decision. It is the time to find that door out of it. It is not yet sin. If you start entertaining that thought and pondering the wickedness of it then it becomes sin. We may even start to say bad things about this person. As we do this this it opens the door for the thought to keep coming back again and again so we keep repeating this sin pattern. Then eventually it brings forth addiction and death.  Now this is just an elementary example but you can see the process.

The way to respond to temptation is to recognize it then take control of it. As in this thought mentioned above, we need to take it captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Say no to the thought and replace it with a good one from Philippians 4:8. Nothing that is of God is evil.

Then the remainder of the passage goes on to state, "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created" (James 1:16-18).

In contrast to the evil, every good thing comes from God. Do we recognize this? He is the creator of all things even the stars and sun. He gives us good things. He is good. He is constant and does not change like a shadow. We never have to question His goodness. He will always remain true to His promises. In His amazing goodness and love He extended the invitation for us to be His children. His word is life giving and He gives us birth as His children. Upon acceptance we become part of His royal family. Let us live on display of this to the dying world.

1-Give an example of a sin that wanted to have you but then how you resisted that temptation. It is good testimony because in Christ we can resist. This will not make sense to those not in Christ.

2-What is your favorite promise of God's goodness to you?

3-How would you explain this sin process to a child?

4-Can you see your desperate need for God? Have you started to own up to your own sin? Sin has consequences but we have a great Savior who took that sin making us clean. Do you regularly confess your sin? There is no better time than now. Take it to Him. He cleanses us from all righteousness when we confess our sins to Him.

5-Do you have an experience like Jesus being lead into the wilderness for the purpose of refining? What were the biggest temptations? Did you overcome then and if yes how?


Shelley said...

What great teaching! Thank you. I love the song that you posted - it is so very true sin is such a slow fade and the comments that follow totally back that up - it's as we allow our thoughts to linger upon the sin - that's when we kick down the 'Danger' sign and proceed to death.

It's hard for me to answer some of your questions out loud - there have been many areas in my life that I have fallen and not fallen - every day brings new challenges and opportunities for either defeat or victory. I use to beat myself up over the being tempted to sin bit and already feel defeated in living before my King. But I too came to realize that temptation is not bad - giving in to it is.

So many verses come to mind - but the ones that bring me the greatest comfort are those that speak of Mercy - sometimes those are the Lord I utter to Him ... mercy Lord, mercy ....

PS 6:9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer ....

Habakkuk 3:2 Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make then known; in wrath remember mercy!

I often think of David who constantly would say to the Lord, I am poor and needy. Just this morning, I cried out to the Lord asking why He perseveres with me, it's just as John says - we are weak sheep - He is a strong Shepherd - how I NEED Him.

I think our trial that last two years when we had to resign from out last church was the biggest temptation for us - we had real and justified emotions but we had to deal with them and move on and not linger there. I won;t pretend I scored top marks I didn't I harbored anger and bitterness to people and to my shame even the Lord as times. I shudder typing that. He kept us in the desert until we dealt with our sin. I would say for the most part yes I have overcome some of the temptation but when it is brought up before me it is very easy, too easy, to get caught up in the unforgiveness of it all - it's at those moments I have a choice to not fall but to recognize the temptation and to quickly pass on by.

Thanks friend xxxx

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Love those Scriptures! I know sometimes questions are meant for our own hearts to ponder. :) Loving James. This word to us is so rich.

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