We may have tried everything to become strong to overcome temptations in life. But most of the time, our will power meets its match while facing temptations and yet again, we fall to our weaknesses in life. How can we overcome temptations? Let us see what James tells us about living a victorious life overcoming temptations.
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. – James 1:13-15
We do not fall into temptations out of the blue without any notice. Long before we commit sin, the thought was imprinted in our minds. This thought gets conceived as a result of our desire in our body and the attraction we give to them. Apostle Paul lists few of the lusts in the flesh to understand better on what we are talking.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. – Galatians 5:19-21
Bodily desires are the motivating factor for us to sin. When we succumb to these desires without resisting at its starting point, it gets conceived in our mind. And you like it or not, it is going to grow and give birth to sin if you dont address it. It is much better to stop this before we entertain or entice such thoughts in our minds. Not often, we try to stop and realize where we are heading. When we realize, we are already in middle of the temptation. It has already developed and waiting for an opportunity to manipulate as sin in our life. If we continue to fall without getting up, sin can consume our life.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.-James 1:16-18
There is good news! God is good. He is the source for all the good and perfect gift. He gave us his only son Jesus to save us from this sinful state and the same God will not tempt us which can lead back to sin. He gives us the weapon to counter the desires of our body and the attraction to it. Jesus used it when he was tempted. He showed us a model and James reiterates the same.
21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.-James 1:21-24
God has given us his word as a tool to resist temptation. Our mind is a fertile place where a seed can grow with help from us. The choice is with us on what kind of seed we sow. It can be the seed of our bodily desires or it can be the word of God. Sowing the word of God will produce the fruit of purity in our life. It will resist the temptation. The verse rightly said that it is not just enough to hear the word and forget it. It is not just enough to quote a scripture and thinking we are good with the temptations. Think about it, when we are tempted with jealousy, it will do no good to just quote a scripture regarding love. Those scriptures need to be part of our life and love should flow from our heart to resist the temptation. We need to do and live by the word. We need to reflect upon our life in accordance to the word as a person sees the mirror and realize how he actually looks. When we life our life filled with the word of God, we have the power of the holy spirit to resist the temptation.
James also tells us the impact of continued sin in our life. Let us not be deceived or be negligent. Let us submit to God and live a life in the word of truth overcoming the weaknesses in our life!