Where does temptation come from? Sometimes the desire and craving for things upon the earth are almost unbearable. We see something and we know that it is wrong, that we should not have it or do it, but the desire and craving become so strong that we can hardly stand it.
This is what temptation is: the desire and craving for wrong things, things that God forbids and that are harmful to our human bodies and spirits. No matter what it is-even if man justifies and says that it is acceptable-it is sin if God says that it is wrong and if it harms our bodies and spirits.
When we feel an urge or craving for such things, we are being tempted to do evil, and we are to flee from evil temptation. Now, where does temptation come from? Take any of the things mentioned above, why do we desire and crave them? What causes the urge for them? Knowing the origin of temptation will help us tremendously in conquering the trials and temptations of life.
I. Temptation is not of God. v13
A. Man is always blaming someone else for tempting him and leading him into sin.
1. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God found Adam and asked him what had happened.
2. Adam, trying to escape the guilt, did just what all of us are prone to do: he said, "the woman who you gave me tempted me" (Genesis 3:12).
3. Then when God turned to Eve, Eve said: "the serpent deceived me" (Genesis 3:13).
4. The point is this: man seldom takes responsibility for his own wrong-doing.
a. Husband blames wife, and the wife blames the husband.
b. Child blames parent and parent blames child.
c. The student blames the teacher and the teacher blames the school.
d. Partner blames partner.
e. Employer blames employee and employee blames employer.
5. What we do is justify our behavior and try to quiet our conscience by blaming someone other than ourselves.
6. But note what we have done: we have blamed God. How?
a. By wondering why God ever let such a thing happen to us: marry such a spouse, have such a terrible accident, and a host of other things that happen to us.
b. By thinking that God created us with desires and passions; therefore, when we slip here and there, He will understand and forgive us.
c. By thinking that God made the world as it is-everything in it; therefore, , He will understand and forgive us.
1) But God did not make us... to desire and then to desire for more and more.
2) To crave and then to crave for more and more.
3) God is not the Person who arouses lustful desires and cravings within us.
4) Note what this verse says: "Let no man say [or think or rationalize, or justify his behavior] when he is tempted, I am tempted of God" (James 1:13).
B. God is never tempted
1. God cannot be tempted with evil.
a. God is holy, righteous, and pure.
b. Therefore, by His very nature God can have absolutely nothing to do with evil or temptation.
c. To tempt a person is an evil thing to do, and God is not like this.
d. God is the very opposite.
e. God's holiness does not allow Him to be tempted to do evil; He cannot be tempted to tempt man, to do such an awful and unholy thing.
2. God does not tempt any person.
a. God loves, cares, and seeks to save man, not to damage or destroy his body and spirit.
b. When a person is tempted to do the forbidden or harmful thing, the urge and craving is not of God.
c. God wants the person to turn away and flee the temptation, not to crumble and succumb to it.
(2 Tim 2:22a) "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:1-3).
II. Temptation is of man, of his own lust. v14-16
There are three significant steps involved in temptation and sin, three steps that we must understand if we are to consistently conquer temptation.
A. There is lust and enticement.
1. Every man-there are no exceptions-is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed.
a. The word "lust" means to crave either good or evil.
b. There are good desires and bad desires.
c. The word "enticed" means to lure and bait just as a person lures and baits a fish.
2. The picture is this: man has good desires, natural and normal desires.
a. Therefore, when he begins to think about or look at something, he very naturally desires it.
b. His desire is normal behavior.
c. The problem arises when the thing is forbidden or is harmful.
d. If he looks at and thinks about the forbidden or harmful thing, he begins to lust and to be enticed or lured to go after it.
e. This is the very beginning stage of temptation.
1) Man takes his desire and focuses it upon the forbidden or harmful thing.
2) Thereby he is tempted and drawn away by his own lusts and enticements.
B. There is the conception of lust and then birth of sin.
1. Lust leads to sin.
2. When a person actually begins to look at and think about the forbidden thing, desire and lust are conceived in his mind.
3. He pictures the pleasure of the desire; that is, sin is actually born.
4. Picturing-looking at or thinking about the desire-is sin.
5. This is exactly what Christ Himself said: "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
6. The point to note is this: temptation begins with the normal and natural desires of man and with his thoughts.
a. Instead of fleeing, the person allows his mind to conceive the thing.
b. He pictures the pleasure and begins to desire or lust after it.
c. Sin is born; the wrong is committed right there in his mind.
d. His heart is set upon the forbidden thing.
e. He may never do the act, but he would if he had the chance and courage.
C. There is the result of lust and enticement: death.
1. Man dies physically, spiritually, and eternally because of sin.
2. When God created man, He did not create man to die.
3. Man has chosen to die, and he dies because of sin.
III. Temptation is not of the nature of God. v17-18
A. God is good and perfect.
1. He is not God if He is not good and perfect.
2. Being good and perfect, God can have absolutely nothing to do with temptation and sin.
3. Therefore, He is not the One who tempts man.
4. God is the One who gives man every good and perfect gift that man receives.
B. God is the Father of lights and He is unchangeable.
1. Temptation leads men into a world of darkness and sin, not God.
2. God is the Father of lights, the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars and of light itself.
3. Now they are all changeable, depending on the angle that the rays strike the earth.
4. But God's light is perfect, so perfect that there is not even a variation or shadow of turning with God.
5. God is unchangeable, and He gives us good gifts…especially the gift of eternal life.
C. God will for us is to see us born again.
(2 Pet 3:9b) "The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
1. He wills for us to know the Word of truth.
2. If we ever hear the word of error, it is not of God.
3. All humanistic and false teaching about truth are not of God.
4. It is of some other source, some source that is out to tempt man away from God and His truth.
We must realize the tragic consequences of temptation. Understand that we cannot blame God…we must accept responsibility. God will deliver us!
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13).