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How to Endure Temptation

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Through trials of life sometimes we acan be faced with temptation. The same produce that trials bring is what is needed for temptation as well. James gives us the how to for enduring temptation.

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Introduction

One of the greatest challenges of living the Christian life is dealing with “temptations”
There have been many who have lost everything because of temptations
Marriages
Families
Ministries
It is especially hard because temptations usually follow along with or around when we are going or have gone through a trial
It is when we are weakest or most tired that temptations seem to overpower us
Temptation isnt anyone specific thing
This world and the things in this world are a buffet of temptation
Temptations come and they are strong
We feel as Paul did in Romans
When he said the things he wants to do he doesnt and the very things he doesnt want to do he does them - oh wretched man that he is
Sometimes we feel cant but give in to them, but James is writing to tell his readers and us again How To
James wants us all to know - How To Endure Temptation
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James 1:12-
James 1:12–14 NKJV
12 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. 13 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. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
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James 1:15–18 NKJV
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
James 1:15-18
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Keep Your Eye on the Prize

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James 1:12 NKJV
12 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.
Blessed IS the man who endures temptation
Blessed - we have seen this word many times in scripture
We use it amongst Christian brothers and sisters (sometimes with non-believers who just give us that look - you know the one)
We use it to describe how we are BLESSED or we use it as a greeting Blessings!
We pray for God to bless people
But do we know what this word actually means?
Blessed - makarios in the Koine and it means happy or fortunate
It is used secularly to refer to the rich and wealthy who were free from normal worries or cares of life
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Makarios is the one who is in the world yet independent of the world. His satisfaction comes from God and not from favorable circumstances
This is why we as Christians can say we are blessed even in the most dire of circumstances - we arent lying we simply have found our satisfaction apart from this world and completely in God
The one who endures temptation is blessed because they desire God and find in Him their satisfaction and this worlds temptations wont pull them away
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For the one who would endure temptation - desire for God must be greater than desire for anything else
This is covered by the one who Endures temptation
Endure is hypomone - we have covered this before - the word patience and perseverance
Spoken of a Soldier who in the face of harm endures to complete the mission
The runner who in the face of great difficulty finishes the marathon
Interesting to note that the patience - hypomone - that is produced in trials is exactly what we need for facing temptation
SLIDE - note this next to verse 12 - link it to verse 2
The trials we go through produce the very fruit - Patience/Perseverance - that we need to ENDURE temptation
Please also note the one blessed is the one who ENDURES temptation
It is not the person never tempted or the one who easily conquers it
This is the one who must battle temptation - and remember this so it doesnt catch you off guard as you resist temptation - IT GROWS
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Temptation often comes not at our strongest, but our weakest moments. When we are at the limit of our patience, love, etc., we are tempted to be unChristian. Beware, Jesus’ temptation began after 40 days of fasting. People are usually more impressed when they see us act under pressure. One weak act may spoil a whole lifetime of witness
The one who ENDURES will be approved
The one who ENDURES will be approved - it says when not if - if you endure you will be approved
found to be genuine
The one who is approved shall receive the crown of life
It is worth it to resist and endure temptation - for there will be a reward waiting for each of us
There isnt just one crown - this isnt a speed race where everyone is competing for this same crown
We are all competing in an endurance race to receive our own crown!
The crown of life
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Revelation 2:10 NKJV
10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
The life promised is life here and now - the abundant life Jesus spoke about
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John 10:10 NKJV
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
life in its completeness - but also speaks of eternal life
Something most of us may not realize is - we dont await eternal life we are living our eternal life now if you are in Christ
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John 11:25 NKJV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
The crown is promised by the Lord to those who love Him
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Those who love the Lord are those who endure temptation
Love for God is the best motive for resisting temptation and enduring temptation
Other motives exist - not getting caught - dont want to wreck the family - what would people think
All this is motivated by fear of men
If love of God is our motive we are fearing God more then men
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If our passion for God is greater than our temptation our passion will win everytime
Those who love God can rest in Him confidently - that they are not missing out on their temptation - the steadfastness (endurance) reveals their greater love!
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Take Responsibility

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James 1:13
James 1:13–15 NKJV
13 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. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
James 1:13–14 NKJV
13 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. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:13-
A common tactic for people is to shift blame
This is not new either - this has been happening since literally the first people
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Genesis 3:12–13 NKJV
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Adam blamed God - He said I was doing great Lord and this woman who you said I needed and gave to me - look what she did!
Eve blamed the serpent - its the first “the devil made me do it!” excuse
People tend to blame the following
God
Others
weakness or sickness - something they can not control
God is not the cause for the temptation - lets stop blaming Him
The scripture says clearly - let NO ONE say when they are tempted - “I am tempted by God”
2 reasons are given for this
God cannot be tempted by evil
Now I know you all that remember what I said earlier about Jesus being tempted and that Jesus being God - how does this make sense
Jesus wasnt tempted in His Deity - Jesus was tempted in His Humanity
God does not Himself tempt anyone
God will test and try men according to their faith
He does not tempt them to commit sin or evil
God allows men to be tempted but Paul gives us what that looks like
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1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
We are the source of our own temptation - so we need to take responsibility
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James 1:14 NKJV
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
James 1:14
James clearly states right here we are the source of our own temptation
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We are the source of our own temptation
We are drawn away and enticed
DRAWN - word in the greek means dragged away forcefully
DRAWN - word in the greek means dragged away forcefully
Enticed - used to speak of to hunt with snares or fish with bait
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One both builds and baits their own trap
By our own desires
Only one person to blame for sin/temptation - ourselves
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Matthew 15:19 NKJV
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Matthew 15:18–19 NKJV
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Matthew 5:19 NKJV
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:19
Our desires can be fed or starved
Matthew 15:18-19
Solomon writes in - to guard the heart above all else
One of the first verses in proverbs I memorized but still one I struggle to maintain
So much of what is in the world is a junk food diet for our hearts
We think though we wont be able to have entertainment unless we put up with some of the garbage - and we give in dont we?
Remember this computing law - GIGO = Garbage In Garbage Out
Skip the junk food its better to not contribute to workplace conversation than to feed the wrong desires
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Proverbs 4:23 NIV
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We must keep our desires in check because of this reason
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James 1:15 NKJV
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Desire matures and conceives and then births sin —> sin matures and brings death
Conception and Birth are supposed to be pictures of life — this is what sin and temptation offer you
A more fun life with pleasure and fulfillment
But what they deliver and produce is death
Reminds me of Pinnochio when he joins Stromboli
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Know the Source of Good Gifts

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James 1:15–18 NKJV
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
James 1:
James 1:16–18 NKJV
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
Temptation promises us to be a good gift and something desirable to have
Desire matures and conceives and then births sin —> sin matures and brings death
Conception and Birth are supposed to be pictures of life — this is what sin and temptation offer you
A more fun life with pleasure and fulfillment
But what they deliver and produce is death
Reminds me of Pinnochio when he joins Stromboli
Wants to eat drink and smoke whatever - and he turns into a donkey
Turns out after we have indulged the temptation we are left wanting
What once promised to fulfill and satisfy us - failed to deliver and in fact may have left us more empty and wanting then when we first came
We chased the temptation because we believed that God was withholding good and desirable things from us
James says in verse 16 do not be deceived!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from God!
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Anything that is good for us is from God - He withholds nothing good from us - do not let temptation deceive you
Nothing withheld from God’s children or forbidden in God’s word is good, regardless of the enticement or desire
You can be sure of this because of the character of God (this is why knowing the attributes of God is so important because they help us learn to trust Him more and more)
God is the Father of Lights
He has no shadow or variation - there is no darkside to Him and nothing hidden from the light
SLIDE - Slippery Slope of questioning God’s goodness
Questioning God’s goodness leads to falling into temptation
God promises us good things when we follow Him
He fulfills and shows us that when we endure temptation we will find true life
He is the source of life
His word is the source of life
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James 1:18 NKJV
18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
He brought us forth - a phrase with meaning towards birthing or giving life
He brought us forth of His own will - His choice to give new life - we didnt earn it — or as some would say we didnt build that!
He brought us forth through His word (the Gospel Message) - His word gives us life - new life
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Proverbs 3:1 NKJV
1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
Psalm 119:25 NKJV
25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:25
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Romans 1:16 NKJV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:16 NKJV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
that we might be a kind of fristfruits

Conclusion

Do we encourage evil thoughts to linger in our minds, or do we expel them quickly? When we sin, do we say that we couldn’t help it? Do we blame God when we are tempted to sin?
We are “a kind of firstfruits of His creatures,” James wrote to Jewish believers, and the word firstfruits would be meaningful to them. The Old Testament Jews brought the firstfruits to the Lord as the expression of their devotion and obedience. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase” ().
Of all the creatures God has in this universe, Christians are the very highest and the finest! We share God’s nature. For this reason, it is beneath our dignity to accept Satan’s bait or to desire sinful things. A higher birth must mean a higher life.
By granting us a new birth, God declares that He cannot accept the old birth. Throughout the Bible, God rejects the firstborn and accepts the secondborn. He accepted Abel, not Cain; Isaac, not Ishmael; Jacob, not Esau. He rejects your first birth (no matter how noble it might have been in the eyes of men), and He announces that you need a second birth.
It is this experience of the new birth that guarantees that we can overcome temptation. If we let the old nature (from the first birth) take over by feeding its desires, we will fail in tempation. We received our old nature (the flesh) from Adam, and he was a failure. But if we yield to the new nature, and feed our desire to love God and follow God and find our satisfaction in Him alone we will ENDURE temptation; for that new nature comes from Christ, and He is the Victor.
A Sunday School child explained the matter in simple terms. “Two men live in my heart: the old Adam and Jesus. When temptation knocks at the door, somebody has to answer. If I let Adam answer, I will sin; so I send Jesus to answer. He always wins!”
No matter what excuses we make, we have no one to blame for sin but ourselves. Our own desires lead us into temptation and sin. God is not to blame.
No matter what excuses we make, we have no one to blame for sin but ourselves. Our own desires lead us into temptation and sin. God is not to blame. But God has erected these three barriers to keep us from sin. If we heed the barriers, we will win a crown (). If we break through the barriers, we will find a coffin (). Which will it be?
SLIDE - David Guzik
Satan’s great strategy in temptation is to convince us that the pursuit of our corrupt desires will somehow produce life and goodness for us. If we remember that Satan only comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (), then we can more effectively resist the deceptions of temptation.
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