MEMORY VERSE: For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18.

BIBLE PASSAGE: James 1:12-27.

INTRODUCATION: Temptation is one of the most familiar experiences of the true child of God and no one can totally escape from temptation. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted. That is why the Lord taught us to include in our daily prayer the petition: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” To be tempted is not sin; to yield to temptation is sin. Just as we cannot stop birds from flying over our heads but we can stop them from nesting in our hair, so also can we not stop evil thoughts from passing through our minds but we need not accept them nor allow them to take a stronghold.

God never tempts any man (James 1:13) although He may give permission to the devil to do so when He is certain that the end result will be to His own glory. In which case he sets the boundaries outside which the devil must not go (Job. 1:1-12, 2:6). The actual sources of temptation are (a) Satan (Matt. 4:1); (b) The flesh (James 1:14), (c) Evil association (Prov.1:10) and (d) at times Christian friends (Matt. 16:22-23).

When can God allow temptations to come our way? The answer is simply:
(a) When He wants to test our faith (James 1:2-3)
(b) When He wants to test our obedience (Gen. 22:1).

God tests men to know the depth of their love and the sincerity of their testimonies that they would obey Him in all things at all times. It is easy to say that we love God and the God can do all things. It is only at the time of severe trials that we can discover if we mean what we say or not. However, in all those cases, God always provides a way for us to overcome (1 Cor.10:13). Of course there are temptations which we bring upon ourselves through the lusts of our flesh.

Temptations can come through many avenues. We shall list a few of them so that we shall know how to watch out. Temptations can come through:
(a) Poverty or prosperity (Prov. 30:9).
(b) Discouragement (Ps. 42:11, 1 Kings 19:4).
(c) Pride, the case of Nebuchadnezzar’s fall (Dan. 4:30);
(d) Pleasure, that led Demas astray (11 Tim. 4:10)
(e)Desire for power, that brought a curse on Simon Magus (Acts 8:19);
(f) Material possessions, that ruined Achan (Josh. 7);
(g) Love of woman, that ruined Solomon and caused the anger of God against David (Neh. 13:26, 11 Sam. 11:2-4).
(h) Love of money that led to the destruction of Judas Iscariot (Jn.13:21-30).

.There are two possible outcomes to temptations. We either yield to it or we resist it and overcome. If a Christian yields to temptation, it becomes a sin (1 Tim. 6:9). The result then is that the Christian’s testimony is badly affected and he becomes spiritually weak. On the other hand, if the temptation is resisted, the Lord is glorifies and the Christian grows spiritually stronger and is thus able to resist other temptations in the future. The Victorious Christian grows in faith and maturity. God is happy because the determination of the Christian to obey Him is confirmed.

There are several ways of overcoming temptations. We shall mention some of them:
(a) By trusting God: we can rely on God’s faithfulness. He changes not (1 Cor. 1:9, 1 Cor. 10:13).
(b) By memorizing the Word of God and quoting them when the need arises like Jesus did in Matt. 4.
(c) By constant prayer and carefulness (Matt. 26:41). The man who knows that his weakness is alcoholic drinks should not be frequent in beer parlours.
(d) By fleeing (11 Tim. 2:22). When Joseph found himself comered by Portiphar’s wife, he ran.
(e) By resisting (James 4:7).The devil is a coward; if we resist him, he flees, that is, he runs away in terror.
(f) Above all, rely on Jesus Christ who is constantly praying for us (Lk. 22:31-32). Beware of yielding to sin, to fall is easy but the scars often remain. Remember, we can do all things through Christ, including resisting temptations.

1. What types of people are subject to temptations?
2. List four possible avenues of temptations?
3. Can God tempt a man? Explain?
4. What are the results of temptations?

FURTHER READINGS: The following passages will tell you more about this topic: 1 Jn. 2:16, Num. 22:17, Job 2:9, Matt. 4:6, Matt.4:9, Gen. 19:1-6, Rev. 3:10.

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