I do what I do because I want what I want: James 1:12-15

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Last week a story was shared about a race that I was in while studying in Israel. Here is a picture (PIC). This also serves as a great illustration of today’s sermon. it is funny, because if you know me, you know that I despise running for running sake. I have tried it (for more than 2 days). I never got to the runner’s high.
Share the background, the challenge between classes, and the breathing that kept me going.
I wanted to win, I did not want to lose
I wanted to beat him, I did not want him to be ahead of me
I wanted to make my classmates proud, I did not want to disappoint my friends.
Outward Trials: “Steadfast” (vs. 12)
Inner Temptation: “When” (vs. 13)
Personal Choice: “Desire” (vs. 14-15)
Summary: Because I want what I want!

Outward Trials: “Steadfast” (vs. 12)

Blessed not Happy (vs. 12)
Is the Man
Who remains steadfast under trial
trial- “peirasmon” noun, temptation, test, trial, the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes). “The outward trials.”
“any difficulty in life that may threaten our faithfulness to Christ: physical illness, financial reversal, the death of a loved one.”
Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 70.
God Promises Life (vs. 12)
When he has stood the test- refering to after the test. Different word from “steadfast” and “trial- “inner temptation”.
He will receive the crown (prize signifying victory) of life- notice that the timing is not delayed. “When he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life. There is imediate benefit to standing fast under trial. Also, the idea of a laurel wreath given to the victors in athletic contest is a little different than the crown of the king. It marks a victory at a given moment of time.
Just like there is immediate gratification in doing what I want in a given moment. I do it because it brings an immediate sense of gratification.
“Life”- the condition of living or the state of being alive; especially healthiness, happiness, exuberance, energy, vitality, and the like.
Which God has promised to those who love him- this works by God’s design and desire. This is a promise!
Are you under trial today? Guess what, everyone is!!! Trials come in negative circumstances as well as positive.
The negative cause me to question God’s goodness and existance
The positive cause me to think I can live without God
Transitional phrase: There is purpose in the trial. There is promise in the trial. God will never leave you or forsake you! The outer circumstances give an opportuntiy for the heart to respond. They draw out the heart. This is where and when the heart is tempted.

Inner Temptation: “When” (vs. 13)

The Moment (v. 13)
Let no one say- this is pretty all inclusive. Our hearts deceive us into thinking that we are alone in our struggles and in our circumstances. “No one knows the trouble I’ve seen, no body knows, my sorrow”- Lion king
1 Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
when he is tempted- “peirazomenos”, verb notice “when” and not “if” we are tempted. Temptation is not just the moment the bottle is in front of us, there is a gun to our heads telling us to deny Christ, (Big moments of temptation), but also when, we are scrolling on our phones, filing our taxes, filling out our work hours, having conversation with that person at the office.
“Christian maturity is not indicated by the infrequency of temptation but by the infrequency of succumbing to temptation.”
Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 76.
The Source (v. 13)
“I am being tempted by (“apo”- or from) God”- “God why are you doing this to me?”- “peirazomai, to be put to the test in order to ascertain the nature of someone, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities.”
For God cannot be tempted with evil- he is untemptable.
and He himself tempts no one. He never tempts, but he often tests. Think about it, if God’s will was to tempt you into sin you would never win. His will always happpens. And we know that this is not God’s will.
Since we are not alone in our temptation and we know it is going to come in the big moments and the little moments how do you view the source differently now? Where does the change have to happen?
Men in history have identifed three areas of temptation that are most commong:
Money, power, or pleasure.
Transitional phrase: If God is not the source of my temptation than what is? When the outer circumstances of life sqeeze your heart, what do you want the most? By the way, that is a great question to ask someone in either the “sqeeze” or the “steep” of life’s circumstances.

Personal Choice: “Desire” (vs. 14-15)

Lured and inticed (v. 14)
But each person- everyone considered individually
is tempted- “peirazetai”- pres, pass, ind, 3rd, sg (verb) to be put to the test in order to ascertain the nature of someone, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities.”
when he is
lured- “exelkomenos”- ex, exit, pres, pass, part, sg, nom, mas, drag away, to be or become enticed, conveived of as a heavy object being drawn out of something with great effort. This is very different than our idea of a fishing lure.
and enticed- “deleazomenos”- pres, pass, part, sg, nom, mas, lure; entice, to be baited to be or become lured, enticed, or entrapped with or as if with bait
by his own desire- “epithymias” gen sg, fem, noun unique or specific to a person or thing or category, “epithymias”- craving, lust, desire.
My desires are the bait that pull me away (with great effort) from the desire I was created for to Worship God and become more like Jesus- not the video, object, person, or way of living.
“So a person both builds and baits his own trap.”
J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 822.
Conception, Birth, and Death (v. 15)
Then desire (sg) when it has conceived gives birth to sin- “Then, when”- time sensative, there is a progression here.
Then desire- craving, that unique desire or lust for some thing, some feeling, or someone.
when it has conceived- “syllabousa”, aor, act, part, sg, nom, fem (circumstantial participle) sieze; apprehend; arrest, to become pregnant, undergo conception. What happens, the sperm and the egg
gives birth to sin
and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death- the thing, person, feeling, money, power, or pleasure (outer circumstance) I thought would bring me life ends up bringing death.
“The steps are all too clear: unchecked lust yields sin, and unconfessed sin brings death.”
J. Ronald Blue, “James,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 822.
Is there anything that you did today that was not driven or influenced by your desire?
You got out of bed or sought to stay in bed because of desire
You chose the clothes you are wearing or not wearing out of desire
You had breakfast or skipped breakfast because of desire
Your attitude in the morning is a reflection of your desires.
Every moment of our lives is a trial to see what we truly desire. We don’t have to time to go over it today, but verse 16 answers the question of why do I want what I want? James warns against deception, thinking we can get a better gift than the ones that God gives.
Have you given into temptation this week? I know I have. But what does that mean? It means that given the circumstances of my day I allowed my desires to pull me away from God, and at times blame Him for what happened. I decided that I knew all things, that I knew what was best for me, that I knew what was going to give me what I wanted and so I acted upon that desire.
If you have not yet asked God for his forgiveness I encourage you to repent. But don’t just repent of the action, repent of the desire.
Phil. 2:13 “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Transitional phrase:
Summary- Because I want what I want
Song: May the Mind of Christ my Saviour “By his love and power controlling all I do and say”.

Discussion questions

Worship- Renew the Mind (Scripture)
1. What passage of Scripture did we look at? Summarize it in your own words.
2. ?
3. ?
4. ?
Grow- Engage the Heart (Conversation)
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
Serve- Enlist the Body (Action)
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