The Bible talks a lot about temptation and sin. And we know that we sin all the time. But we often don’t know how we get into sin in the first place. James 1:14 and 15 says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Notice that the text distinguishes between temptation and sin. But what is temptation? What is its point?0
Temptation is not sin:
Hebrews 2:18 – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Temptation is a test of your faith in God:
Either to try to get you to fall away from God, or to show you how much you love God
James 1:2 – consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.
1 Peter 1:6 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (temptations).
1 Peter 4:12 – Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial (temptation) you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
James 1:14 – but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.
What does Temptation produce in us?
Greater purity from having come through the temptation intact—We learn obedience through the things we suffer (Heb. 4:8). And coming through suffering without sinning perfects us (Heb. 4:9).
Victory over trials produces steadfastness/patience which leads to perfection and completion lacking nothing (Jas. 1:3,4).
Confidence in your relationship with God—Faith is trusting in a faithful God. As our understanding God’s faithfulness increases, so does our faith (Heb. 11:1).
Growth in faith—God is shown to be more trustworthy when we trust him in small things and thus we are able to trust him in ever larger things.
Sin—On the other hand.
What should we do when we are tempted?
Understand this – 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Also, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1Pet. 5:8).
- Prayer to avoid the temptation –
Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Matthew 6:13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘
2 Peter 2:9 – if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
- Be obedient when you find that you are being tempted/tested.
Luke 4:2 – where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- Run away
1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 10:14 – Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1 Timothy 6:11 – But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:22 – Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Things to remember:
- We all have desires, we are all prone to thinking we are the center of God’s universe, and we are all thus prone to being tempted. The devil is prowling around looking for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). We want what we want (Jas. 4:1,2).
- The avoidance of temptation is all about worship. Who is God, where is Jesus in all this, will I submit myself to the authority of God, will I love him above all else? Will I take up my cross and follow him (Mt. 16:24)? Will I continue to follow even when things around me are falling apart?
- God is glorified when we obey him and we are blessed when we obey (Jn. 14:15; 21; 1 Jn. 5:3).
- Every command/temptation is an opportunity to serve God or to rebel and sin.
- God’s commands are not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3). If they seem to be it is because we aren’t worshipping correctly. This includes persecution.