How to Handle Temptation


Published on What an Awesome Study this has been - James 1:13-18! When you learn the difference between Trials and Temptations, it helps you to understand how to handle the temptations that come your way. James is showing us Three facts that we must consider to understand how to overcome the temptations. My friend, we have a choice to flee temptation or to succumb to it. But One thing I want you to remember: God's Gifts are Always better than Satan's bargains. Satan is the master deceiver and he is constantly trying to lure you to the bait.

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How to Handle Temptation

  1. 1. Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:FacebookTwitterGodTubeYouTube 1
  2. 2. How to Handle Temptation James 1:13-18Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot betempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is temptedwhen he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire hasconceived, 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 perfectgift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there isno variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by theword of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures. (NKJV)Welcome to Empowered Bible Study Ministries. Last week we saw how to turnour trials into triumphs. Today, as we look at James 1:13-18 James is going totell us how to handle temptations.Lets begin by reading James 1:13 "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I amtempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself temptanyone." NKJVWe see here that James is very emphatic that we are not to say God has temptedus, that God Himself cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.So what is the difference between trials and temptations?It is said that Trials are being sent to bring the best out of us; whereasTemptations come from Satan using the world and the flesh to bring out theworst in us.As we saw last week, Trials come in many forms, from financial problems,health issues, moral issues, accidents, loss of loved ones and more. They canbe small trials to huge, life changing trials.Whereas Temptations are from Satan where he encourages us through our sinnature to doubt God and turn away from Him. If we are not careful, the testingmay become a temptation. Satan is the master of deception.For instance, when we start to complain and doubt Gods love and purpose inthe midst of our trial, Satan will use this as an opportunity to steer us away fromGod. He will supply an easy way out of a difficult situation which is actuallysteering us away from glorifying God. 2
  3. 3. When the Israelites were wondering in the wilderness they soon turned trialsinto temptations. Instead of trusting God to meet their need, they grumbled andcomplained. Remember this test was to prove to them that God will supply theirneeds. It was a very important lesson to learn and to remember.Ladies, it is crucial for us to remember always that God tests people for good; hedoes not tempt people for evil.Does that mean that God is not in control of what Satan temps us with? No! Evenduring temptation we can see Gods sovereignty in permitting Satan to tempt usin order to refine our faith and help us grow in our dependence on Christ.Remember Job; God allowed Satan to temp Job. Job 1:1 states that Job was ablameless and upright man, one who feared God and shunned evil.Through this, Job grew in his faith, Job 42:5 ―I have heard of You by the hearingof the ear, but now my eye sees You.‖ NKJV Job grew to know Godexperientially in his heart. He sought the wisdom of God.If we recognize temptations as flowing from Satan using our own sin nature andour weaknesses, we can deal with them by rejecting sin and responding as thenew nature in us directs; seeking wisdom from God to understand and grow inour Christian walk.James goes on to say in verse fourteen:James 1:14 "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desiresand enticed." NKJV James showed us that God brings no experience into our lives in order to dragus down. His gifts are always and only good. If we feel temptation, the problem isin our own inner desires. Unless we deal with our temptations on this basis, ourinitial desire will grow into sinful acts and this to a sinful lifestyle.So we see that God and Satan may be working in our lives through the sameevent – God working for our good, Satan working to tear us down. So what does James say that we need to understand if we are to overcometemptation?There are Three Facts that we must consider:- In James 1:13-16 James tells us that we are to Consider Gods judgment- In James 1:17 James tells us that we are to Consider Gods goodness- And then in James 1:18 James tells us that we are to Consider Gods divinenature within. 3
  4. 4. Let‘s look at the first fact: God‘s JudgmentJames 1:13-16 ―Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; forGod cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But eachone 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. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.‖ NKJVLook at verse sixteen ―Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.‖ James ispleading with these Christian Jews to think about God‘s judgment when thosetemptations to take the easy way out come. He reminds them that God does nottemp anyone, in verse thirteen, and that they are to know that if they are beingtempted it is not of God.He warns, look ahead and see where sin ends – death!We think of sin as a single act, but God sees it as a process.We see in these verses four stages of the process of sin: - Desire - Deception - Disobedience - DeathDesire:The normal desires of life were given to us by God and, of themselves, are notsinful.For example your desire for food or drink when you are hungry or thirsty is not asin; however, gluttony is a sin.It is when we want to satisfy these desires in ways outside God‘s will that we getinto trouble.My husband will tell you of a time in his life that he had to choose to follow Godand not his desires. He was into White Water Rafting, had his own boat andwould go down rivers with groups and lead groups down rivers. He became soinvolved that it started taking him away from God.Now White Water Rafting in and of itself is not a sin, but when it reached a pointthat it was absorbing his time and took him away from church and away fromGod, the Holy Spirit was warning him that his love for rafting was going too far 4
  5. 5. that he had to refocus his priorities. When asked to go on this particular tripwith the largest White Water Company in the world, he said ‗no‘. This was agreat opportunity for him, he was a great boatman and many companies wantedto use him. My husband said no that day which release a huge burden off of hisshoulders. He didn‘t stop rafting all together, but rafting no longer had the pullon him that drew him away from God. He was able to keep his focus on God. Infact, we did rafting trips to help pay for our wedding.Ladies, it was not the rafting that was sinful, it is allowing our desires to take usout of God‘s will that becomes the sin.The secret is in constant control. These desires must be our servants and notour masters. We only serve one master and that is Jesus Christ. He is to be #1in our lives above any earthly desires that we have.As long as we can keep our eyes on Christ and not allow the desires around usto manipulate our lives, then and only then will we have victory over Satan. It iswhen we lose sight of this that we get into trouble.The next stage is Deception:No temptation appears as temptation; it always seems more alluring that it reallyis. James uses two illustrations in verse fourteen:James 1:14 ―But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desiresand enticed.‖ NKJVDrawn away carries with it the idea of the baiting of a trap; and enticed in theoriginal Greek means ―to bait a hook‖.The best illustration for this, when you think of bait and hook, is the analogy of aFisherman luring the fish using a hook with bait.The idea is to hide the trap in the hook.Temptation always carries with it some bait that appeals to our natural desires.Remember Satan is the master deceiver.The bait not only attracts us, but it also hides the fact that yielding to the desirewill eventually bring sorrow and punishment.It is the bait that is the exciting thing but it keeps us from seeing theconsequences of sin. 5
  6. 6. To use the analogy of my husband and rafting, here again we can see that thebait would be Satan placing the idea of fun, excitement, being outdoors and thechallenge that each river brings. In and of itself, rafting is not sinful but soonyou find yourself going more and more, missing church, learning everything youcan about rafting, the rivers, and the fulfillment it brings you. Pretty soon, youfind yourself consumed with that desire.My husband and I enjoy photography. Photography is not a sin, but Satan willuse that desire to draw you away from God. It is what you spend your time inthat shows where your heart is.If you are spending all your time in the hobby that you enjoy more than livingyour life to glorify God, then this is where Satan‘s deception comes into play.You can have a hobby, but use it for God‘s glory not for your own personal gain.If at the end of your day, you cannot see one thing that counts for the Glory ofGod, then that day is wasted and will burn at the judgment seat of Christ.If you find that your hobby is pulling you away from God then that is Satan luringyou away so that you do not grow in your Christian walk.When you know the Bible, you can detect the bait and deal with it decisively.This is what it means to walk by faith and not by sight.You need to be in the Word of God every day communicating with God every dayto help you combat Satan and his lures.Remember, Satan is the master deceiver and he seeks to deceive the mind.The bait that Satan used with Eve in the Garden of Eden was the fact that theforbidden tree was good and pleasant, and that eating of it would make her wise.She saw the bait and forgot the Lord‘s warning in Genesis 2:17 ―but of the tree ofthe knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of ityou shall surely die." (NKJV)This ladies, is where the deception turned into our next stage in the process ofsin: Disobedience.Eve disobeyed God‘s command of not eating from the tree of knowledge, shesaw the bait set by Satan to drag her down and it looked good. As we see in 6
  7. 7. Genesis 3:6 ―So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it waspleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruitand ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.‖ (NKJV)She took of its fruit and ate. Notice that not only did she eat of the tree but shegave some to her husband Adam also and he ate.You see, when we are not in God‘s will we can bring those around us down too.We have taken the bait, hook line and sinker.James 1:15 ―Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin,when it is full-grown, brings forth death.‖ NKJVThis ladies, is why we need to be on our guard at all times. Satan is just waitingto lure us in. He is holding the fishing pole with the hook and bait waiting for usto take it and he will reel us in as fast as he can.Using the analogy of my husband and rafting, when he had a choice to go on aweekend rafting trip, he turned and said ‗no‘ and didn‘t go. It was as if a hugeload was released off of him because he knew it was luring him away from Godand away from church. That day, he had victory over temptation. He followedthe Holy Spirits guidance and turned down that trip. Now does that mean hecould never go on a weekend trip? Absolutely not! But when it became a threatto pulling him away from God that is when it became wrong.So many times we act on feelings and Satan knows that is how he can trap us.We say, ‗I don‘t feel like reading my Bible today‘, or ‗I am tired, I think I‘ll stayhome from church today‘.Satan wants us to go by feeling because he knows he can use that to steer us inthe way he wants us to go.This is why immature Christians easily fall into temptation: They let their feelingsmake the decisions. The more you exercise your will in saying a decisive ‗no‘ totemptation, the more God will take control of your life.Philippians 2:13 ―for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for Hisgood pleasure.‖ (NKJV)Well, the final stage of the process of sin is death as we see here in verse 15. 7
  8. 8. James 1:15 ―Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin,when it is full-grown, brings forth death.‖ NKJVNow if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, then your sinof rejecting Christ will end in eternal death and as it says in Revelation 20:11-15you will end up in the Lake of Fire.But if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal savior, youcannot lose your salvation as we have seen in the book of Ephesians. So herewe are not talking about eternal death, we are talking about what you could call‗spiritual death‘, a separation from God.Meaning sin has a way, when you give into it to cause a separation in yourrelationship with Jesus Christ.Think about it in a marriage setting. When a husband and wife are in anargument you can feel the tension in the air, right. You can be in the same room,you are still husband and wife, but there is a metaphorical wall that separatesyou from each other. As long as you are fueling this disagreement, that wallstays up between you and it hinders your relationship.The same thing happens with our relationship with God. As long as we are livingin sin our relationship with God is as if there is a wall between us. Once weconfess our sins and turn away from them, then our relationship with God isrestored. Just as a marriage between a husband and wife, when they begin tocommunicate and work out the disagreement that wall begins to tear down.Our relationship is permanent our behavior is variable.So ladies, whenever you are faced with temptation, get your eyes off the bait andlook ahead to see the consequences of sin: the judgment of God.Destruction is always the end result of sin. While the believer does not lose hissalvation, he can suffer great loss and ruin.Note that each of these steps entails a process: "Lust-conceived . . . gives birthto sin." That lust which is harbored in the mind and heart will break out in time.Do not be deceived.Only God can give power and victory over sin. That centers in His Son, JesusChrist. He can set you free from the desires of sin.For us as believers there is always strength and power available from Him 8
  9. 9. 1 Corinthians10:13 ―No temptation has overtaken you except such as is commonto man; but god is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what youare able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you maybe able to bear it.‖ NKJVThe second fact to consider in overcoming temptation is God‘s Goodness:Let‘s look at James 1:17―Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from theFather of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.‖ NKJVOne of Satan‘s tricks is to convince us that God doesn‘t love us. He will putthoughts into our heads like ―If God loved you, he wouldn‘t allow you to gothrough this trial‖.The goodness of God is a great barrier against yielding to temptation.Ladies, we know that God in his goodness will meet all of our needs according toHis will for our lives, but when Satan attacks he tries to make us believe that ourneeds are not being met.Once you start to doubt the goodness of God, Satan will use this to lure youtowards his bait.Remember, Moses told the Israelites‘ to remember God‘s goodness in Duet 6:10-15 when they went to the Promised Land.Verse seventeen says that Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.Sometimes, the gifts we receive may not seem good; like Paul‘s thorn in hisflesh. As we see in 2 Corinthians12:1-10 Paul found a blessing in this gift.The thorn in his flesh was given to him to keep him humble and not prideful. Heasked the Lord Three times to take this from him, so you know it was difficult tohave. In the Greek it shows that Paul asked this in three separate occasions notall at once. And God‘s response was ‗my grace is sufficient for you‘.God would use this thorn or stake in his flesh to keep him from being prideful;therefore, this painful gift was a blessing a good gift given for a perfect reasonand purpose.The verse goes on to say ―and comes down from the Father of lights‖ 9
  10. 10. Comes down is a present participle; meaning it keeps on coming down. Goddoes not give occasionally; he gives constantly. Even when we don‘t see Hisgifts, He is sending them.Ladies, we should never question God‘s love or doubt His goodness whendifficulties come or temptations appear.If King David had remembered the goodness of the Lord, he would not havetaken Bathsheba and committed those terrible sins. David took the bait thatSatan provided.Joseph on the other hand knew the goodness of God in the midst of all his trialsand he fled the temptations of Pharaoh‘s wife. (Gen 39:8-9)We have a choice, to flee temptation or to succumb to it.God‘s gifts are always better than Satan‘s bargains.So the next time you are tempted, meditate on the goodness of God in your life.Never toy around with the devil‘s bait, it will snare you every time.The third fact to consider in overcoming temptation is God‘s divine naturewithin:James 1:18 ―Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that wemight be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.‖ NKJVJames wrote to Jewish believers, and the word firstfruits would be meaningful tothem. The Old Testament Jews brought the first fruits to the Lord as theexpression of their devotion and obedience.Proverbs 3:9 ―Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits ofall your increase‖ NKJVLadies, we share God‘s nature. For this reason, it is beneath our dignity toaccept Satan‘s bait or to desire sinful things. 10
  11. 11. We have been given three barriers against temptation. - We need to look ahead and be aware of the judgment of God - We need to look around to see how good God has been - We need to look within and realize that you have been born from above and posses divine nature.So the best way to overcome temptation is to be in the Word of God Daily andcommunicating with God Daily.It is when we are developing our personal relationship with Christ, getting toknow Him and remembering all that He has done for us that we will be able tosay with confidence – get behind thee Satan.If the temptation attacks our thoughts, then we must push the wrong thought outof our mind, and then begin to immediately focus our thoughts upon Christ andsome passage of Scripture.If the temptation comes from some attraction to our senses—seeing, hearing,tasting, and touching—then we must turn our head or body away and flee thetemptation. Then immediately we must focus upon Jesus Christ and prayer andreview some Scripture passage.No More Excuses like  "I couldnt help it."  "Everybodys doing it."  "It was just a mistake."  "Nobodys perfect."  "I didnt know it was wrong."  "The devil made me do it."  "I was pressured into it."A person who makes excuses is trying to shift blame from himself or herself tosomething or someone else. A Christian, on the other hand, acceptsresponsibility for his or her wrongs, confesses them, and asks God forforgiveness.Ladies, we can overcome temptation – the key is your relationship with God. 11
  12. 12. I have enjoyed studying God‘s word with you and look forward to being with youagain as we continue our study on the Book of James.Until then,God blessTo view this study and archives on the book of James go to: other Bible studies and inspirational articles go to:Empowered Bible Study MinistriesJoin us on:Facebook; Twitter; GodTube; YouTube 12