Friday, September 16, 2011

Dealing with Trials and Temptations


Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  (James 1:12-15)

The crown of life is like the victory wreath given to winning athletes (1 Cor. 9:25).  God's crown of life is not glory and honor here on earth, but the reward of eternal life - living with God forever.  The way to be in God's winners' circle is by loving Him and staying faithful even under pressure.  The believer who endures trials demonstrates that they love Jesus and therefore will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10) at the judgment seat of Christ. The Bible describes the believer’s reward (2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12) under various vivid images such as precious metals (1 Cor. 3:8–14), garments (Rev. 3:5, 18; 19:7–8), and crowns (1 Cor. 9:25; Rev. 2:10; 3:11). 

The focus of the chapter turns from trials (James 1:2–12) to temptations (James 1:13–18). Temptation comes from evil desires inside us, not from God.  It begins with an evil thought and becomes sin when we dwell on the thought and allow it to become an action.  Like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows more destructive the more we let it have its way.  The best time to stop a temptation is before it is too strong or moving too fast to control (Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:22).

God will never deliberately lead a person to commit sin because that would not only go against His nature, but it would be opposed to His purpose of molding His creation into His holy image. Yet God does sometimes place His people in adverse circumstances for the purpose of building godly character (Gen. 22:1, 12).

People who live for God often wonder why they still have temptations.  Does God tempt them?  God tests people, but He does not tempt them by trying to seduce them into sin.  God allows Satan to tempt people, however, in order to refine their faith and to help them grow in their dependence on Christ.  We can resist the temptation to sin by turning to God for strength and choosing to obey His Word.

Drawn away and enticed express the intensity with which desire lures an individual until they are tragically entrapped. Sin does not force itself on the unwilling, but is chosen because of its attractions. This idea is vividly illustrated by the tragic path of an addict: a habit once acquired by an individual in the end completely controls that person.  Full-grown suggests bringing a goal to completion. The idea here is that sin has reached its maturity and has possessed the very character of the individual. Death here refers to physical death (Prov. 10:27; 11:19; Rom. 8:13).

It is easy to blame others and make excuses for evil thoughts and wrong actions.  Some of the more common excuses are:  (1) It's the other person's fault.  (2)  I couldn't help it.  (3) Everybody's doing it.  (4)  It was just a mistake.  (5) Nobody's perfect.  (6)  The devil made me do it.  (7)  I was pressured into it.  (8)  I didn't know it was wrong.  And, (9) God is tempting me.  A person who makes excuses is trying to shift the blame from themselves to something or someone else.  A Christian, on the other hand, accepts responsibility for their wrongs, confesses them, and asks God for forgiveness.

Father God, it is my prayer today that whatever trials I go through or whatever temptations the devil puts before me, that I will continue to focus on You.  I ask you Lord to give me the strength and courage to take responsibility for my actions and to humbly come to you for forgiveness if I sin against You.  Search my heart Lord for anything that would be a stumbling block to others and allow Your Holy Spirit to shine through me.  I pray this all in Jesus' name.  Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.

10 comments:

dfish said...

I John 1:9 really emphasizes the need for taking our responsibility. Without it, we won't experience forgiveness, even though it is offered.

RCUBEs said...

And the spiritual enemies are ever active in tempting all especially the believers. May we be quick to discern the way out that the Lord provides! Amen to your prayer. God bless you bro. Lloyd. May you always remain strong in the Lord's mighty power!

Alice Lynn Alfred said...

Great post, Lloyd. I especially appreciate all the wonderful scripture you added....I need a good dose of His Word!

susanwalkergirl said...

Thank you Lloyd for reminding us that we are striving in this life for that crown of life, eternal life with our heavenly Father and His precious Son.

Kind of puts life in perspective doesn't it? What a glorious imperishable crown.

Julie Reynolds said...

May God bless you. Thank you for sharing this word.

Ian Curtis said...

What a day when this corruption puts on incorruption. I long for that day, sometimes with an intensity that I can't put into words. To be like Christ because I will be WITH Christ is a good motivator for holy living. But choice words and Scripture won't carry us one step without a humble reliance on the Holy Spirit's perfect ability to sanctify us.
There are some days when I think I've barely begun to comprehend the Christian life. I've been having a lot of those lately...

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks again, Lloyd, for clearly stating the profound truth of God's Word. It is comforting to know that Christ was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15), and that through His indwelling Holy Spirit believers have the power to resist the devil (James 4:7). To avoid committing sinful deeds, we should submit to God, and pray for His guidance in finding the escape from temptation He has promised us (1 Cor 10:13). Love in Christ, Laurie Collett

Brad said...

Lloyd,

Really enjoyed this mini-sermon. Keep writing. We need to own our sin and the sin nature within, that though dying, still has the ability to test our faith in Christ.

ss fashion world said...

hi, what do you think, of following each other ?
xoxo
ⓈⓈ ⒻⒶⓈⒽⒾⓄⓃ ⓌⓄⓇⓁⒹ

Marcia said...

Sigh...yes, but easier said than done. Yet, "I can do all things through Christ..." ;)