Overcoming Sin and Temptation (James 1:12-25)
Temptation = Feelings favoring sin or rebellion against God.
Desire = Our will
1. At times, God acts contrary to our will (i.e. brings trials) to see if we love Him (through submission of our will). (v. 12)
2. God’s will is that we pass the test so that He can reward us. (vv. 2-3, 12)
3. We are the reason we are tempted, not God. (vv. 13-14)
4. The cause of temptation is that our wills are contrary to the will of God. (v. 14) Put another way, temptation happens when what I want is not what God wants.
- As such, temptation is a great indicator that our current wills, desires, or course in life are out of sync with the will of God. In this respect, we should be thankful for temptation since our will is the cause of temptation (versus temptation affecting our will). We are never the victim because this means temptation is not the cause of sin. The words, “temptation made me do it,” should never come out of our mouths. Such thinking is like blaming alcohol for car accidents. Alcohol only makes it more difficult to do the right thing, but alcohol is not the perpetrator, the individual choosing to drink and drive is the perpetrator.
5. The cause of sin is us refusing to submit our wills to the will of God – hence why we deserve death (we are again, perpetrators and not victims). (v. 15)
6. We need to put an end to wrong thinking to win over our sin:
6.1. STOP forgetting about the end. (v. 12)
6.2. STOP thinking there are good things outside of God.
6.3. STOP thinking that God’s will in saving us includes no (or very few) earthly blessings. (v. 18)
- God promises us the “firstfruits” or, the best part. (v. 25)
6.4. STOP thinking that you are the boss of your life. (vv. 19-20)
- If you’re still the boss of your life, then Jesus says “no deal!” (Phi 4:6-7; 2Co 10)
6.5. STOP thinking about things that are filthy and wicked (your thought life will become real life) and instead think about God’s word. (v. 21)
Why wicked thinking may be present:
6.5.1. Time is being spent in the wrong places. You cannot have right thoughts if you are hanging in the wrong places.
6.5.2. Time is being spent on wasteful thinking that weakens the mind. (versus the strong mind: Pro 6:23-24; Phi 4:8; Rom 12:1-3; Col 3:1-6; Psa 1:1-3 – Because he thinks about God’s law, he stays away from evil and prospers; Psa 119:9-11)
6.6. STOP thinking you can be a Christian simply because you want to or because you believe/have faith in what God says and are sorry when you sin. You MUST obey. (vv. 22-25; Deu 5:1)
- A “hearer” is one who believes what God says, we must be doers too.
- James’ analogy of the man forgetting what he looks like is most helpful. We all have an image of ourselves. In the case of this forgetful individual, that image (in their mind) does not match what they saw in the mirror (they “forget” that image in favor of another). That is James’ point. In the same way, those who are believers (but not doers), are replacing the true definition of what it means to be a Christian (i.e. the true image of a Christian) with a false definition or image based on faith, or again, belief alone. Judgement day, however, will be based on deeds, not belief, faith, or feelings.
Check out What A Christian’s Involvement in Politics Should Look Like for the other topic we picked up this past Sunday.