2 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.
Not only does James reveal Satan’s purpose and plan but also his end game which is:
- To birth bondage and deliver death
James reminds us that Satan often starts small, just like how a newly conceived baby starts off in their mother’s womb. A fertilized egg, so small you don’t even notice, but then those cells multiply and as it grows it become more and more obvious. The baby grows until it is large enough and healthy enough to survive outside the womb at which point it is born. The baby continues to grow taking on its own personality, becoming more and more independent. Until finally it takes on a life of its own. That is the picture James is painting for sin. It often starts so small and tiny that nobody notices it, but what it births in our life is bondage which left unchecked always delivers death. That is Satan’s evil intention. He intends for you to fail. Small at first. But even a small foothold is still a foothold. And once you give him a foothold, he will use it to devour you. Is there any area in your life where you are giving Satan a foothold? It’s here that James now reminds us of the”
A. Solution to defeating Satan and saying no to sin– Vs 16
Don’t be misled: First James calls us to
- Recognize who is behind the temptation:
2 Corinthians 2:11 says “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” Satan is a counterfeiter, who hides behind camouflage. Satan is the originator of stealth and if we are going to follow Christ and not fall for a counterfeit, we need to recognize him for who he is. The way that the FBI is able to spot counterfeit cash is that they have taken the time to study the real thing. They are so familiar with the real thing that when they are confronted with a counterfeit it stands out as a fraud. Many of us are fooled by the fake because we are not studying Christ. Why is it critical for me to check each piece of currency? Because once I accept a bill, that piece of money becomes my responsibility. Should I attempt to later deposit that bill in a bank and the teller sees that it is counterfeit, the bill will be confiscated, and I will not be reimbursed. What I accept becomes my responsibility. There is a clear parallel here to spiritual discernment. Just as I am responsible for the money I accept and later attempt to spend, in the same way I am responsible for the teachings I accept, put into practice and later attempt to share with others. Thus, it is my responsibility before God to inspect every teaching that comes my way. We should test each teaching that is presented to us and refusing to accept any that goes against God’s Word. Not only should we recognize but second, we should:
- Reject temptation
Recognize the temptation and flee from it 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it.” God provides a way out, but we have to take it. I think of Old Testament Joseph who when confronted with. sexual temptation fled. Our problem is that instead of escaping we tend to entertain temptation. In James 4:7 we are told to: “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The Solution to not falling for Satan’s schemes is to Submit yourself to God. No one has ever resolved their sin problem by working on it, it’s not by trying but by trusting. Righteousness is imparted not by works but by faith. If we are not careful, we will get caught up trying to do things for Christ instead of doing things in Christ. Learn to focus on the promise not the problems, keep your eyes on the crown of life not on the crud in life? Today chose to pursue God’s prize instead of Satan’s prison.