James 1:1 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:2 – Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James 1:3 – But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Hello readers, today I’m going to be going through James 1. James deals with temptation in chapter 1. The Bible says to count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. But what is temptation? Well Websters 1828 dictionary defines temptation as “enticement to evil by arguments, by flattery, or by the offer of some real or apparent good” and “Solicitation of the passions; enticements to evil proceeding from the prospect of pleasure or advantage.” You should know what temptation is in your own life. You may being tempted to drink, or to do drugs, or to fornicate, or to lie, or cheat or steal or whatever. Of course, the best definition for temptation is what the Bible itself provides.
James 1:14 – But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 – Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It’s pretty self explanatory, we have pride and lust in our hearts… thanks to us being born in sin. Sin dwells in us. We have that nature, that urge, that predisposition to sin. So situations of life come up, and they tempt us. A pretty girl can tempt you to sleep with her… see you’re being tempted, you’re being drawn away of your own lust. You have lust in your heart for her beauty, her shape, her manner… whatever. That lust brings forth sin. You shouldn’t fornicate, but you do… and that’s against God’s word, will and design. Death is the end result of of sin. Spiritual and physical death… death of a marriage, death of your future, death of your hopes and dreams, death of your testimony and witness… sin always brings forth death. Our lives are so full of death because we are so full of sin.
If you don’t have lust in you, then you can’t be tempted. Can you? Why didn’t Satan’s temptation of Christ work? Because Jesus had no sin in him, he never sinned. So the devil tried tempting him, but it didn’t work. He’d never met a man like that! Look at someone like David… a great man in the Bible, a man after God’s own heart… and he got tempted when he saw a beautiful woman bathing on the rooftop. Boy did that temptation get his lust going, then his sin going, and then the death going. His child from that adultery died, his testimony got murdered, he had a ruined family life… that sin worked a lot of death in David’s life. Sin’s price is always much higher than we think or reckon on paying.
Temptation merely bring out what is really in us. Temptation examines our heart, our faith, our walk with God. It’s easy for us all to have religion, but temptation is something real. It’s real life. We easily go to church and sing the songs and walk the walk. But how do we do out in the real world, in private when nobody sees? It’s scary what is truly in us. What’s deep in us. Unless the Holy Spirit moves upon the deep waters of your heart… you’re a goner. It’s scary what’s in us. Because we are all tempted to sin. The temptation is strong because sin dwells in us. The desire to sin, the lust and the pride… it’s in us… and temptations bring that out. Satan knows how to tempt us to do evil. The fall of man started with a temptation. Temptation is a very real part of life, and it’s going to test how real your profession is. Without God how can you overcome temptation? You can’t. How are you going to find the way of escape… if you don’t want it? Temptation reveals what’s truly in our hearts… and it’ll either show who we are, and if you are saved, it’ll make you stronger, because God will use it to purify us, strengthen us and grow us in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
We are tempted to all sorts of evil, and we all have different temptations that are our weakness. James speaks of “divers” temptations for that reason. What tempts you may not tempt me. What tempts me may not tempt you. People justify their sin because they are tempted to sin. Just because you are tempted doesn’t mean it’s ok. It should lead you to repentance and a crying out to God for deliverance, for forgiveness, for a new heart (as David prayed for). We live in a world where people justify all sorts of abominable things because they have no answer to the temptation which plays on their lust, which leads to sin, which leads to death. Say you have homosexual tendancies, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to get involved with sodomy. See, sin needs to be rebuked, not excuse, justified and catered to. The Bible says in our flesh dwelleth no good thing… instead of giving an inch to the flesh and it taking a mile… it’ll never be satisfied… we need to be born again. Why do you think we need to be born again? Because there’s a big old problem with our first birth.
Often temptation is our greatest problem. If we weren’t tempted, then we wouldn’t sin. Temptations come up, and cause us to fall, they get us into a whole boatload of trouble. We want to escape temptation, but we cannot, because we have a sinful nature we cannot escape. The solution isn’t escaping the temptation, because temptation will find you no matter where you run to. Jesus was lead of the Spirit into the wilderness TO BE tempted of the devil. See, God will take you in that direction to win a great victory in your life. By the way, this isn’t an excuse to go out and put yourself in bad situations at all. But the thing is temptations to sin are inescapable in life, so the solution isn’t in trying to isolate yourself from them because you never will be able to even if you went to the moon to live. The solution is the power of God. Jesus Christ defeated the tempter… did you know that? If Jesus lives in you… you can win. Christians can often go quite wrong because of the sin problem they try and live like hermits and monks, but sin still goes on there… because they’re still sinners. We are fixed not be self isolating into the wilderness, we are fixed by coming to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. The fact is… we all have lust and pride in us, so we are all sinners, but what we do with that fact, whether we take it to Christ or not… that’s what’s decisive.
We can have a dread of being tempted, because when we are tempted we fall. As such we live in fear of them, we live in bondage to them. Because we have no answer to temptations. However the Bible says to count it all joy… that’s a different perspective on temptations isn’t it? How can you leap for joy when you are being tempted? It’s because temptations try our faith. Without temptations how would you ever know what your faith is worth? It’s easy to have an on paper Christianity, it’s another thing entirely to have a walk with God. Look at Joseph… he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife… how many of us would’ve refused like he did… day after day? She was no doubt a beautiful woman, the temptation was surely great. But for Joseph it wasn’t an option… because he loved God. If we loved God a bit more that temptation wouldn’t be so tempting would it. Temptations can be scary because they show us how much we don’t love God… how much our deepest part of our being is still filled with darkness. Temptations try our belief in God, they try the reality of our profession of a walk with God. You see, you are not going to beat temptation if all you have is dead religion. Many people fall into sin, and succumb to temptation after temptation to evil because they are not born again, they do not have a real relationship with God. When will we stop losing the battle?
There’s one thing God has been showing me. It’s so easy to have a spiritually dead Christian walk. We just go through the motions, we do what we do… but there’s no active, vital, real, quick faith in God, there’s nothing real there. We often are dead stick Christians… not Aaron’s rod Christians. Temptations are good, because they test how much we love God, they test whether we truly believe and trust God’s word, they test whether we have a real relationship with God, they test if we are truly born again. In your own sinful flesh you cannot win over temptation, though a man may try… our flesh doesn’t get overhauled, true salvation is a new creature. The key to overcoming temptation is a new creature in Christ. The key is repentance and faith. It’s not a sin to be tempted as we all surely are and will be… but the sin is when we don’t cry out to God, when we don’t take the way of escape that is there. Remember those cities of refuge… the way of deliverance, the place of deliverance… Jesus Christ is our refuge… but we don’t run to him in the time of temptation you know why? Because we don’t truly deep down love him. We don’t deep down believe him.
It’s a pretty different way instead of blaming and dreading temptation to evil… to instead count it all joy. To thank God. To thank God for showing us who and what we truly are. God gives us every day as an opportunity to trust him and walk with him. For him to reveal himself to us and win victories through us. With temptations the biggest battle is ourself. If ourself wasn’t so sorry, they wouldn’t be half as bad. Your faith is being tried. A dead faith is going to fall. The book of James deals a lot with a true faith that produces works and a dead faith that has no works. Anyone can say they have faith, but a true faith produces works. How can you call yourself a Christian and there be zero evidence of spiritual life of anything to back up those claims that you believe and love the Lord? Where’s the fruit, where’s evidence of his life in you? Salvation produces change. People don’t have a real salvation because they don’t even have the fruit of repentance first, they’ve never repented… repentance is missing because the gospel has never hit their heart at all. A true faith will come through as gold… not because of you being stoic and strong and resilient and gritting your teeth, but because you trusted God with it. That’s the key. Imagine trying to keep temptation at bay. It’s like you trying to control your nature. You’re never going to take away that lust in you until you have the Holy Spirit in you, who takes the battle to your lustful nature.
Temptations try your faith. Simple as that. We fail temptations because we don’t have faith, because we don’t truly love God, because we don’t truly believe God. When you truly, truly believe something, that affects how you behave. Doesn’t it? God uses the times of temptation to make us grow. To grow us as Christians, to help us to see that we are complete in him. You know what, you can live without that sin. Often Satan can make us think we can’t do life without that sin. Sin can be very addicting, it can get a strong hold on us… but God wants us to see that we are complete in him. What does “wanting nothing” mean? God wants us to grow up in Christ, and the more Christlike we become, the more he transforms us through his indwelling Holy Spirit as we trust him… the more we don’t want that sin and that sin and that sin anymore. God wants to get us to a point where we don’t want that sin that we are being tempted by. God wants to get us a to place where we are complete in him, not in doing that sin. God wants to get us to a place where we don’t do evil anymore because we don’t want to do it. You’re a pretty strong Christian when God’s gotten big victories in life over the former lusts that controlled our lives.
Temptation just taps into our love of sin. Often we only sin because we love sin. If you didn’t have a sin loving heart the temptation to sin would do nothing to you. The Bible warns us in Psalms 66 not to regard iniquity in our hearts. What about Psalm 101:3 – I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. See, often we let sin cleave to us… rather than us cleaving to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith during the temptation. Very few people cleave to truth, for very man, sin cleaves unto them. Remember one of David’s mighty men called Eleazar in 2 Samuel 23 who’s hand clave unto the sword when fighting the Philistines? Our problem with temptation is our hand isn’t cleaving to the sword of the word of God. What did Jesus defeat Satan with? It is written.
There’s no coincidence that the next verse in James speaks about asking for wisdom. Because in all this we need God’s wisdom. In temptations we need the wisdom of God to see what’s going on, to understand what God is doing, to see the end of sin. Often people don’t see down the line of the death that is going to result from the temptation. We need God’s wisdom in dealing with temptation, because when you got wisdom, you’ll be far better equipped to deal with what is tempting you. You’ll understand not to do evil. Wisdom makes a big difference in temptation, both to see outside of the the temptation when we are in it, and to see God in it, and to know what to do and have the heart and desire to do it. We need God to change us. We need to ask him to change us.
Ask in faith the Bible says, nothing wavering. Often we waver because in the battle with temptation, we have one part of us that wants to follow our lust, and the other part of us that wants to obey God. Don’t waver. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. A Christian who wants some God and some world… that’s a disaster. Jesus himself said you cannot serve two masters. Who is your master? Is Jesus Christ really your master? Or do you answer to another master really when push comes to shove?
James 1:12 – Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
You want to experience a blessing… it comes when you endure temptation. Enduring doesn’t mean that you “rode it out”, it means that you got through it through the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Bible says he’s interceding, that’s not just before the Father, that’s also in our daily life, interceding as we live and breathe. There’s way more to life than just pursuing your lust. That won’t complete you, the Bible says we are complete in him. Why does sin just keep taking more and more, demanding more and more… why do people keep having to go back to it… because their lust is never fulfilled and satisfied. Sin only has pleasure for a season, but at God’s right hand are pleasures evermore. When your faith is being tried, you learn to be patient, and that patience produces wonderful fruit in your life. Patience is worked when your faith is tried because during temptation there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Trusting on God and waiting on him is worth it. The person you are at the end of it is different to the person before it. Because God is doing a work in your life through all of it. We need faith and wisdom in dealing with temptation. We need to be single eyed on the Lord Jesus Christ. How about “entire” in this chapter? Are you entirely God’s, or is there part serving God and part serving lust and flesh? God’s interested in entirely you. What part of you isn’t entirely God’s? That little temptation may just be showing what is severely lacking still, what needs repenting, what needs forgiveness, what needs deliverance from.
In the midst of this chapter the Bible talks about the brother of low degree being exalted and the rich in being made low. It’s not a sin to be rich, but often the rich get to pursue all their lusts. You can really live it up here on earth yet be bankrupt before God. God’s economy is totally different to man’s economy… God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith. You may not be doing well in the world’s eyes, but you can be plenty rich toward God. Riches and temptation go hand in hand, just maybe not being materially and physically rich is a blessing from God.
The Bible says it isn’t God tempting you, but it’s your own lust drawing you away after sin. Do not err beloved brethren. The Christian life is a battle. Firstly it’s a battle inside. When you get saved a battle is waged between your flesh and the Spirit of God. The flesh lusts against the Spirit of God… your flesh is full of lust and pride. That’s why it has to be crucified, that’s why you have to die daily. It’s why you have to reckon yourself dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. You know, what God has for you is good. That’s what the chapter continues on with every good and perfect gift being from God. The end of all your lust and yielding to temptation is sin and death. Why did God send his Son for you? To forgive you, to save you, to deliver you, to give life where there was death, blessing where there was a curse. It was the word of truth that begat us. You know, the gospel begat you? You heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it produced a new creature. That’s why it’s so important to give people the word of God, because that is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring forth new life in whoever believes it.
The rest of the chapter contrasts being a hearer versus being a doer of the word. See, temptations really just flesh out whether you’re just a hearer or whether you are a doer. When you heard the gospel… when you read your Bible? Does it mean something in your day to day life… a life in which you will encounter temptation to sin. Satan was a murderer from the beginning Jesus said. Meanwhile God gives every good and perfect gift. It’s a story of two kingdoms people. We need to lay apart our sin, our wickedness, and we need to lay hold on God’s word, on the truth. No wonder James speaks of the law of liberty. You see, God’s word sets us free. Jesus said whoever commits sin is a servant of sin. You see temptation is bondage. You’re a slave to your lust. You can’t say no even if you want to. God’s word, it entering our hearts, it saving our souls… it’s liberty. You’re free to say no, you’re free to serve God, you’re free to do righteousness. Being a slave to lust, having no answer to temptation, that’s what Satan has for you. But God wants to set you free. You can be set free from sin, you can endure temptation as a soldier of Christ.
It’s hard to do an entire chapter justice, but the main theme of this blog has been to do with temptation. We all face temptation to sin in our lives, and they can be very strong. We need an answer to our lust, and that is the Spirit of God. We must be saved, and we must walk in the reality, a life of repentance and faith, a life relying on his power to deliver us, a life where we ask him without wavering for faith and wisdom and power to deal with temptation. God can deliver us, he makes a way of escape, and if you’re not finding it, it’s because you just don’t want it. We need Jesus in us not only to do, but will to do of his good pleasure. And in Christ, Christ is working in us both to will and do of his good pleasure. When we realize how sin loving our hearts are, how deep the pride and lust runs… it’s scary. That’s why we must be born again, ask Jesus Christ for that, ask for him to save you. And just believe him and reckon the truth of God’s word to be so as you go and face real life. Faith is believing what God has said, even if you don’t get it, or feel it. Why do you think James goes on to talk about the word of God, that same word which is the engrafted word, the word that is able to save our souls, that same word that we have to be doers not just hearers of? We need to pray to God for deliverance, and really lay hold on his word in the time of temptation and believe it and do it. Temptation to sin is a giant, but a boy called David killed a giant called Goliath one day in the valley of Elah… and that giant can be defeated through the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ… who ever lives to make intercession for us, he wants to intercede on our behalf in our temptations! He is alive forevermore, we need but just trust him for his deliverance which he is more than able to perform.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)