James 1:13-18 - The Origin of Trial & Temptation

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1.      God is never tempted

2.      God tempts no man


1.      There is lust & enticement

2.      There is the conception of lust & the birth of sin

3.      There is the result: Death


1.      God is only good

2.      God gives only good gifts

3.      God wills only to see us born again


I.                  The Origin of Trial & Temptation, 1:13-18

(1:13-18) Introduction: Where does temptation come from?

1.      Sometimes the desire and craving for things upon the earth are almost unbearable. 

a.       We see something and we know that it is wrong, that we should not have it or do it.

b.      Sometimes the desires and craving become so strong that we can hardly stand it.

c.       Can you give me any examples of desires you have that you know are wrong?

—    Having one’s own way                --clothes

—    Food                                            --more components for my computer

—    Alcohol                                        --more guitar equipment

—    Cigarettes                                     --watching things on T.V. that are wrong

2.      This is what temptation is: 

a.       The desire and craving for wrong things, that God forbids, and that are harmful to our bodies and spirits.

b.      No matter what it is—even if you or I try to justify it and say that it is acceptable—it is sin if God says that it is wrong—and if it harms our human bodies and spirits. 

c.       Therefore, when we feel an urge or craving for such things, we are being tempted, and the temptation is to be fled from. 

3.      Now, where does temptation come from? 

a.       Take any one of the things mentioned from above, why do we desire and crave them?

b.      What causes the urge for them?

c.       Knowing, (remember the word know?) the origin of temptation will help us to conquer the trials and temptations of life.

1)      Temptation is not of God (v.13)

2)      Temptation is of man, of his own lust (v.14-16)

3)      Temptation is not of the nature of God (v.17-18)


1.      Man is always blaming someone else for tempting him and leading him into sin. 

a.       When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God found Adam and asked him what had happened?

b.      Adam, trying to escape the guilt said, “the woman you gave me tempted me” (Gen. 3:12)

c.       Then Eve said to God, “the serpent deceived me” (Gen. 3:13).

2.      The point is this: man seldom takes responsibility for his own wrongdoing.

a.       This is called “passing the buck”

b.      Don’t try and get away with sin by blaming others, admit what you have done wrong, ask God to forgive you, and learn from you mistakes.

3.      Man can even make jokes or excuses about temptation and sin, such as:

a.       “if I hadn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have done it”

b.      “the Devil made me do it”

c.       “or it may even be a second helping of food”

d.      “I couldn’t help it”

e.       “everybody is doing it”

f.       “it was just a mistake,” “I didn’t know it was wrong”

g.      “What we do is justify our behavior and try to quiet our conscience by blaming others”

But note what we have done: we have blamed God.  How?

—         By wondering why God ever let such a thing happen to me: flunk my math test, get into an accident, and a lot of other things we blame God for.

—         By thinking that God created us with desires and passions; therefore, when we slip here and there, He will understand and forgive us (abusing The Grace of God).

4.      God of course, did create all things in their raw form, and yes He did create us with desires and cravings.

a.       God created food and He gave us a desire for food so that we would eat and take car of our bodies, however, gluttony (overeating) is sin.

b.      God gave man to woman and woman to man so that they would keep the human race going and would build a family, full of love.

c.       We desire to sleep that’s is good because we need to rest our bodies but “laziness” is sin.

d.      But God did not make us to…

1)      To desire and then to desire for more.

2)      To crave and then to crave for more.

God is not the Person who arouses lustful desires and cravings within us.  Note what this verse says:


           Let no one say [or think or rationalize, or justify] when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. (James 1:13 NKJV)

1a.   ( Verse 13a) God Is Never Tempted

1.      By God’s very nature He can have absolutely nothing to do with evil or temptation. 

2.      To tempt a person is an evil thing to do.

a.       It takes an evil person to try and entice someone to sin against God.  And God is not like this.

3.      God is the very opposite.

a.       God’s holiness does not allow Him to be tempted to do evil (there are things God cannot do).

b.      He cannot be tempted to tempt man, to do such an awful and unholy thing

2a.   ( Verse 13b) God tempts no man

1.      God loves, cares, and seeks to save man, not to damage or destroy his body and spirit

2.      Why would God tempt us to sin, if sin is the very reason that Christ died for us?

3.      When we are tempted, God wants us to turn away and to flee the temptation, not to give in to it.

God has one eye on you and one hand on the thermostat; God knows your breaking point.

—    1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

—    2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

—    1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

—    2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.



There are three significant steps involved in temptation and sin, three steps that we must understand if we are to consistently conquer temptation.


1b.   (Verse 14) There is lust & enticement

1.      Every man—there is no exceptions—is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed. 

a.       Lust means “to crave either good or evil,” “good desires or bad desires”

b.      Enticed means “to lure and bait just as a person lures and baits a fish”


The Picture Is This:

—    Man has good, natural and normal desires.

—    Therefore, when he begins to think about or look at something, he very naturally desires it.  His desire is normal behavior.

—    But the temptation begins with an evil thought and becomes sin when we dwell (make it at home in our heart) on the thought and allow it to become and action.

—    Like a snowball rolling downhill, sin grows more destructive the more we let it have its way Romans 6:19. Satan wants to get us in the flesh because then we are fighting in his arena.

—    The best time to stop temptation is before it is too strong or moving too fast to control.

Excuse justifying—“oh, its just a little, tiny, teeny wienie sin, it can’t hurt. Watch out!

2b.   (Verse 15a.) There is the conception of lust & the birth of sin

1.      The above point, point one is what is called “the conception of lust” it is a picture of birth.

a.       When a person actually begins to look at and think about the forbidden thing, desire and lust are conceived in his mind.

b.      That is, sin is actually born.

c.       Picturing in your mind—looking at or thinking about the evil desire—is sin. 

d.      This is exactly what Christ Himself said:

—    Matthew 5:28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

—    Mark 4:19 “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

—    1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world----the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life----is not of the Father but is of the world.

—    Galatians 5:16-17 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.   For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Now You Might Ask, “How Do I Apply This To My Life?”

Thought 1. The way to overcome temptation is essentially twofold.

1)      If the temptation attacks our thoughts, then we must push the wrong thought out of our mind (2 Cor. 10:5), and then begin to immediately focus our thoughts upon Christ and some passage of Scripture. 

a)      This is why it is so important to memorize Scripture!

—    Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

b)      What did Jesus use to defeat the Devil when He was tempted? 

c)      Scripture (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10 “It is Written”).

2)      If the temptation comes from some attraction to our senses—seeing, tasting, hearing, and touching—then we must turn our head or body away and flee the temptation.  Satan wants to get us in the flesh.

3) Then we must immediately focus upon Jesus Christ and prayer and review some Scripture passage.

3b.   (Verse 15b.) There is the result: Death

1.      This is immediate spiritual death, ultimately physical death.

2.      When God created man, He did not create man to die.  Man has chosen to die, and he dies because of sin.

3.      The basic meaning of death is “separation”

  1. The Bible speaks of three deaths.

1)      Physical death: the separation of a man’s spirit or life from the body.  When a person ceases to exist on earth and is buried (1 Cor. 15:21-22; Heb. 9:27).

2)      Spiritual death: the separation of man’s spirit from God while he is still living and walking upon earth.  This death is the natural state of a man on earth without Christ.  Man is seen as still in his sins and dead to God (Eph. 2:1; 4:18 1 John 5:12).

3)      Eternal death: the separation of man from God’s presence forever.  This is the second death, and eternal state of being dead to God (1 Cor. 6:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Rev. 2:11; 20:6; 20:14; 21:8).  


Note three significant points about God and temptation.


1c.   (Verse 17a) God is only good

1.      He is not God if He is not good and perfect.

2.      When we say God, we mean the Supreme and Majestic Being, the Creator of the universe, who is the source of all good and perfect gifts.

a.       Being good and perfect, God can have absolutely nothing to do with temptation and sin.

b.      Therefore, God is the one who gives man every good and perfect gift that man receives.

—    “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 NKJV)

—    Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! (Psalms 34:8 NKJV)

—    Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NKJV)

2c.   (Verse 17b) God gives only good gifts

1.      Temptation leads men into darkness, not God.

2.      God is the Father of lights

a.       The creator of the sun, moon, stars and of light itself

b.      God is light, perfect light—so perfect that there is not even a variation or shadow of turning with God.

c.       God is unchangeable and always gives us the things that will stand in the light.

Note what is said about God: He is “the Father of lights.” 

—    He is our Father; He never leaves us in the dark wondering about the truth. 

—    He always opens up the light of the truth to us.

—    He gives us “every good and perfect gift” because He is “the Father of lights.” 

—    The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1 NKJV)

The Bible says that God is light and in Him is no darkness

—    This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 NKJV)

The Bible says that God is so good that he gave His only Son to die for us so that we would have Eternal life.

—    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)

—    “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:28 NKJV)

3c.   (Verse 18) God wills only to see us born again

1.      His will for us is to know the Word of truth. 

a.       If we ever hear the word of error, it is not of God. 

b.      False teachers are out to teach false doctrine and to tempt man away from God and His truth

2.      God’s will is what the Word of truth proclaims: that man can be born again. 

a.       He can experience a spiritual rebirth and live forever with God.

b.      Have you experienced this spiritual rebirth?

c.       Do you want to be born again, forgiven of your sins and live forever with God?

d.      You can and I want to give you this opportunity to do so right now.

Jesus said,

—    But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 NKJV)

Do you want to receive Jesus and become a child of God, by believing in Jesus Christ and be born again?

—    Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

—    Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.   “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6 NKJV)

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