The Traitor Within

Dusty Burris • James 1:13-15

  • 2011-06-12 PM
  • Sermons

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Well, as always, it's a real privilege for me to be able to open the Word of God with you. As many of you know, one of the responsibilities that I'm privileged to have here is to work with the college group and we've been going through the book of James now for several months. Actually, Lord willing, we'll finish that book this coming Wednesday night. And tonight's message is from James 1:13-15 and really comes out of that study that we've been doing the last several months. I've entitled tonight's message, The Traitor Within, The Traitor Within.

I was watching TV several months ago and there's this new show on the Discovery Channel, I don't know about you but I like the Discovery Channel, those kind of shows, except this show is a little bit gruesome, a little bit too gruesome for me, it's called Monsters Inside Me. Has anybody seen this? Monsters Inside Me is a show about parasites. And it's a show that tells real life stories, real life accounts of people who have contracted, or been infected with, random rare parasites. And the stories can be a little graphic, like I said, but in all of the cases, most of the time, the doctors are unable to figure out what's going on, they put them on medications that are not the right medications and in some cases they get very ill, and even there's been cases of death, because they go through misdiagnosis and misdiagnosis until finally they figure out something out of the ordinary is going on and there is, in fact, a parasite that is trying to take the life of this individual.

And that kind of makes our skin crawl, it's kind of creepy. We don't really like to think about those kind of things. No one likes to think about something being inside them trying to take their life or harm them in any way. But the truth of the matter is, spiritually, every single one of us has within us a traitor, a monster inside of us, if you will, that is eating away at us spiritually, that desires for us to stumble, to disobey God. It is our flesh.

And oftentimes we misdiagnose what's really going on when we have a sin issue and we blame it on some circumstance, perhaps our parents; they just didn't raise me right. If they had done these things then I wouldn't have this sin issue. Perhaps we blame it on the media, if the media would just tone down the sexual innuendo and those kind of things, then I wouldn't have this problem that I have. Or, if my family was this way, if my husband or my wife was this way, or if my coworkers didn't do the things they did, then I wouldn't have this problem. And just like the people in that show, we misdiagnose ourselves and continue to get worse, stumbling into sin, not understanding what's really going on, pointing fingers at everyone except the real issue.

We're going to be in James 1, like I said, beginning in verse 13 and I want to give you a little bit of the context before we do. To begin the book, James, first of all, greets his readers who are Jewish believers who've been dispersed and spread abroad. And he immediately jumps into the topic of suffering and specifically, rejoicing in the midst of our suffering, that our trials can be opportunities to praise God. And that, in fact, they should be, that we should rejoice in the midst of our trials, and that God uses them to create in us endurance and perseverance. And the theme of the book, really, could be put into two words, faith works. Or, in other words, true faith, a true believer will inevitably produce good fruit, they are not saved by that fruit, but if you are in Christ, then your life will demonstrate that in obedience, and that's what much of what James is about.

But right after he talks about trials, even in verse 12, he comes into a section on temptation. And that's the section that we're going to look at together today. If you would, read with me. Let's go ahead and read verses 12 down through 15, James 1:12-15. James says,

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he's been approved, he'll receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one will say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he's carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it brings birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

We could wrap up this passage into one concise statement and it would be this, don't blame God for your temptations but recognize the true culprit is your own flesh. Don't blame God for your temptations but recognize the true culprit is your own flesh.

And this passage really breaks down into two major sections that we're going to look at together. And the first one comes right here in verse 13 and it's don't blame God for your temptations, don't blame God for your temptations. Read with me again in verse 13, he says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone." He begins with what really, in the Greek, is an imperative, it's a command. In the English it says, "Let no one say," which sounds kind of passive, but actually it's very forceful. It could be translated, never say, don't ever do this, not only is it a command but it is in the present tense, meaning, this is to be a continual action. As a character of our lives, a pattern of our lives, we are never to say this thing.

"Let no one say," or never say, well, never say what? Before he tells us what, he gives us the circumstance under which we're not supposed to say this. He says, "Let no one say when he is tempted." Notice he says, "when he is tempted," not if he is tempted, but when. And I think that it's crucial for us to understand as believers that temptation will not cease this side of heaven. Until Christ either returns or takes us home through death, we will be tempted. It's inevitable. If you are living and breathing and have a pulse today, believer or unbeliever, you'll experience temptation. It is a reality. And I think we do a disservice to our self if we try to explain that away or pretend that, you know, we don't deal with temptation. Scripture would have something else to say. James says, "when he is tempted," assuming it is going to happen.

The word tempted here is also the word that's translated test or trial in verse 12. But in this context temptation is what is meant and the definition of temptation here is to entice to improper behavior, to entice to improper behavior. So what we're talking about is an opportunity, a temptation, to do something that God either forbids or to keep from doing something that He commands. This is a temptation to disobey God, disobey His law, go against His Word.

So now we have the circumstance, we have the command, not to say this thing and don't say it when you're tempted, now what is it that we're not supposed to say? Verse 13, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God.'" This implies that we, that the person is saying that God is the direct agent behind their temptation, that somehow God is the one bringing this temptation, and this really fits well with the context because he's been talking about trials in our life.

And trials, while he's talked about the positive impact that trials are supposed to have, that when we go through sickness or financial difficulty, or whatever the trial may be, we're to look at those and see what blessings God may have. In that same trial is an opportunity to sin. It's an opportunity to be tempted to think wrongly about God. Instead of rejoicing in the midst of that and seeing it as a benefit, we get angry with God sometimes. And so, for this person in this context who is going through this severe trial, they may have the temptation to say, God is sovereign over everything and so He's the one that's brought this into my life, and He's the one that's tempted me to think this way.

James is saying, don't do that, don't ever do that. And he gives us two reasons why in verse 13. Number one, God cannot be tempted, God cannot be tempted. "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil." It is an impossibility for Him. It goes against His character. It goes against everything that God is; He cannot be tempted by evil. First Peter 1:16 says, "because it is written, 'You shall be holy.'" Why? "'for I am holy,'" God says. God is holy. He's not tempted to sin. He's not tempted by evil.

In fact, this Greek word is really one word that means untemptable. God is literally untemptable. It is an impossibility for Him, in His holiness, to be tempted. So it makes no sense for us to say that God is tempting us because, number one, He's not able to be tempted. Number two, He doesn't tempt anybody. He doesn't tempt anyone, the end of verse 13, "and He Himself does not tempt anyone." This makes perfect sense. If it goes against God's character to be tempted by evil then why in the world would He want to tempt you and I to do the thing He hates? He would never do that. He would never tempt you or me to sin against Him. He hates sin.

Now, this does bring up a couple of questions that I want to answer and we're not going to go into depth here, but if you're thinking, you might be thinking, I hope you are thinking, but if you're thinking in-depth about what we're talking about, you might say, now wait a minute, wasn't Jesus tempted in the wilderness and isn't Jesus God? So how can He say here that God cannot be tempted? Yes, Jesus was tempted, and yes, Jesus is God, but when Jesus was incarnate He was fully man and fully God at the same time, and so in His humanity, yes, He was tempted, only without sin.

The difference in His temptation and ours is that there was not within Him this fallen flesh like we have that was yearning after the temptation, it was simply an external temptation presented to Him. And if you'd like a more full explanation of that, Pastor Tom did an excellent job on that passage on June 29, 2008 from Mark 1:12-13, so I'm not going to go too far into that, but it is online and he gave a great explanation there. So, yes, Jesus was tempted, without sin, in His humanity, not in His deity.

Well, what about David and Job? Didn't God tempt them to sin? Didn't He tempt David to take a census and didn't He tempt Job to sin as well? Well, on further review, we see in 1 Chronicles 21:1 that it was Satan that tempted David to take the census and that it was Satan in Job's scenario as well. It was not God tempting them to sin. Certainly God can test us but He does not tempt us. This is an impossibility for Him.

The only problem is, even though we know this to be true about God, we blame Him, don't we? From the very beginning, in Genesis 3, at the fall, who did Adam and Eve blame? Specifically, Adam. I'd say, well, he blamed Eve. Well yes, he did. Remember what he said, he said, "'the woman that You gave me, God, she's the one who gave it to me.'" Indirectly, Adam was blaming God. God, You gave me this rebellious woman and she tempted me, so it's Your and her fault.

We do the same thing. We blame all sorts of things. We blame our spouses. We blame our circumstances. And in all of those, indirectly, we are blaming God, especially when we believe that He is completely sovereign, and we do. And this is a warning to us, it's a command to us. Never blame God for your temptation. Never blame God for the temptation to sin. That's an impossibility for Him, He's holy.

So, that's point number one, don't blame God, but point number two is where we're going to spend the bulk of our time. And it is, blame the traitor within, blame the traitor within, verses 14 to 15. So, read with me again verse 14, "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." So here's the reality, not that God is the one tempting you and I to sin, not that God is the one tempting the people in James, that James is addressing, to sin. "But," he says, "each one is tempted," each one of us individually, the whole of us, each individual here, "is tempted," and he gives us an illustration here, he uses two fishing terms, "when he is carried away and enticed."

Now, he's not making two separate points, it's not as if he's saying that there's this progression where we're carried away and then we're enticed. He uses two different words to say the same thing, "carried away" and "enticed" are getting at the same point, and both of them are fishing terms. It is that picture of a fish under a log and here comes the bait, the lure, to lure him in to his death. On the outside, that worm or whatever it is, that bait, that lure looks very appetizing, it looks very good, but as soon as he bites into it he finds out it has a hook. And that is the imagery that we're to have here when we think about these words, "carried away" and "enticed."

But what are we enticed by? Now, this is the intriguing part, "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." Now, when we hear the word lust we need to pull away a little bit of baggage because in our context, in our English language and in our society, the word lust is generally just said of sexual sin, but that's not at all what the Greek term is used for; the word lust really means strong desire and it is a neutral term in the sense that it can be a strong desire for something good or it can be a strong desire for something bad. Paul uses it of desiring to see the Thessalonians, as a strong desire or a craving to see them. So, it's not the word itself that is evil, but it is the object that we have a strong desire for that determines whether or not we're talking about sin. And in this case he's talking about the strong desires that well up in us for sinful things, and it is an all-inclusive word. Again, it's not, he's not just talking about lust after sexual things, but after anything.

You know, God gives us desires that are natural and good. For instance, He give us the desire to eat, want to eat food. I have that desire, that's good. If you don't have that desire, or if you disobey that desire for too long, you will die; you need to have the desire to eat food. The problem is, we then take that desire and we pervert it, we eat too much food, we eat more food than we ought to and we make an idol out of food. Or, take sleep for instance, sleep is another healthy human desire that we need. And again, if you disobey that desire or deny yourself that, health problems will inevitably ensue. But, some of us love sleep to an unhealthy level where we can waste a whole day or weekend or year, sleeping it away. And then, of course, sexual desire is included in this. While it's not the only thing, it's certainly included. Sexual desire inside the context of marriage is perfectly good and right, but what do we do? We pervert that and try to take that outside of God's defined boundaries.

And that's what he's talking about, he's talking about this desire to either use a God given desire in excess or with a sinful motive, or in a way that is outside of God's prescribed boundary. And this lust, notice he says, "But each one is carried away and enticed by his own lust." This is personal, this is personalized, this is not just this broad category of lust. "But each one of us," and if we're honest with ourselves we can testify to this, there are things, while we are capable of all kinds of sin, there are likely a few things that you are routinely tempted to do. You know, I don't normally, when I drive by a bank I am not tempted to jump out and rob that bank. It's not personally a temptation that I have. That's a good thing, I'm on staff here at church and that wouldn't be very good.

But there are other temptations I do have and they are a daily reality that I have to craft my mind to fight against, and so do you. Yours may not be mine, mine may not be yours, and that's why this term is important. He says, "by his own lust." These are personalized. Can we call them pet lusts, to where we know they're evil, and we set up boundaries to fight against them, but if we're not careful we can find ourselves running right back to them. It's like a lion in a cage, and we feed it enough just to keep it alive, but when you take it out of the cage it tears everything up.

So, let's put this all together, what James is saying here is that each of us is tempted by our own personal pet lust that rises up within us like a lure to a fish and it comes from our own flesh. The traitor inside of us is our own flesh. When I say flesh what I mean is, if you are in Christ you have a new nature, but all of us still, until Christ returns and perfects us, glorifies us, we have an unredeemed part of us called our flesh, and it's far beyond the skin and bones and muscles that we have, it is much deeper than that. It's that thing within you that when you see the lure, the external lure, it's that thing that pops up inside of you that wants that, that's the flesh. And that will not go away until Christ returns.

You know, when I was a kid growing up, behind my house about a quarter of a mile was a pond, and we called it Wheeler Pond, because the people that owned it last name was Wheeler. And I spent a lot of time at this pond. I'm an outdoorsman, I like to be outside, that's where I would go. All throughout high school and college, I would go down there. That's where I would pray and spend time with the Lord, but I would also do quite a bit of fishing when I was down there. We had permission to fish this pond and I would just fish along the bank, and over time I found out that the fish, the bass in that pond, particularly liked a black worm cut in half with a pink tail. It didn't matter if the water was high or low, or dark or clear, sunny or cloudy, I could throw that worm and work it just right, and I would catch fish every time, and so that's what I fished with every time I went.

Now, my older brother is not much of a fisherman. He may be like you, he doesn't care much for the act of fishing, however, he does like to catch a fish. And so, he would only come fishing with me with the promise that he's was going to catch something. So he kept hearing me come back and I was catching fish every time I went, and so finally, it peaked his interest and he came with me one day, and I rigged everything up for him, I had the black worm with the pink tail, and I told him just where to throw it, and there's that log over there, there's always fish underneath, and he throws it over there, and nothing. We'll, let's try again, maybe they're sleepy. So he throws it again and nothing.

After he gets frustrated I say, well, let me have it, maybe you're not throwing it right, and I throw it out and I catch a fish, which just adds to the problem. But the reason that I did that is because, not because I'm a great fisherman, I'm really not all that good of a fisherman, I just knew how to fish that pond. And I knew exactly how those fish would respond. I knew exactly the way to present the lure. I knew how to how to put the lure on the hook just the right way and where to throw it. And I would catch a fish because I knew those fish.

Our flesh knows us and it presents the lure just in the way that tempts you the most. It doesn't fool with doing it the way that will tempt your neighbor or someone else, it is after you. And just like a fisherman who knows a fishing hole, that lure is presented in just the right way, to where it hurts the most. Do you ever wonder why temptation is so tempting? That's kind of an odd way to think about it. The reason temptation is so tempting is because that temptation is personally crafted for your sinful desires and my sinful desires.

So the question is, what is your pet lust, your craving or cravings? And I want you to ask yourself a few questions that can help us identify this. For some of you it might come right to mind. But there are others, I think, that are more subtle that we deal with that we may not even realize, so answer these questions. What sins am I most frequently tempted with? What are the sins that just don't, the temptations that just don't seem to go away? What are the sins that I'm most frequently tempted to rationalize? Which sins are that, when they pop up in your mind, that you go, well, you know, under this circumstance, you know, that's okay, or we start to rationalize why, this time, that's okay and it's not a sin. Which sins do I find the most difficult to resist? When you ask yourself those three questions and answer them, you're on the road to discovering what it is that is your personal strong desire or lust.

Over the course of the next week, pay attention to your thoughts, pay attention to the desires that come within you, the temptations that you have to fight against, and that will help you determine your personal craving or strong desire that James is talking about here. But James moves on from the fishing illustration to another illustration, the illustration of pregnancy. Look with me now in verse 15, "Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." "When lust has conceived," this is the breaking point. Okay, this is where we have moved beyond just a temptation that's presented with you, or a desire that pops up within you, to now the lust has conceived.

Meaning that, you have gone beyond just being tempted and now you have decided that you're going to act on that temptation. Instead of shutting down that temptation right at the moment that it occurred, you just, kind of, let it sit there a little bit in your mind. And what James is saying is that at that point, when you have decided to act in your mind, you may not act on it that day, that week, or even that year, but as surely as a woman who has conceived is going to have a baby, that sin is going to take place. You've moved beyond the point of temptation and now you've moved to sin. The sin has conceived.

And this really brings up an important point, that we've got to understand, is that the battle for sin, the battle over temptation is a battle won or lost in the mind. The mind is the battlefield where the temptation occurs and where we must cut it down. Long before a physical act happens or a word is spoken in sin, it has taken place in the mind. That's where the battle was lost. And what might seem like just an innocent thing, of letting yourself dwell on something, maybe you really struggle with unforgiveness and you just, kind of, let yourself dwell on that thing that that person did to you years ago. When you're feeling down or lonely, you just, kind of, bring that back and just, kind of, comfort yourself with ideas of revenge, and you have sinned. That temptation, instead of cutting it off the moment that it came, you dwelled on it.

You know, but for some of us it's, perhaps it's just you're desiring something that God's not allowed you to have, maybe it's not even a bad thing, maybe it's something like having children, or being married. Those are good things, but maybe God in His providence has not allowed that for you at this time and instead of trusting in Him in that, you just get angry and you just let that anger seethe and grow.

James says that, "when lust has conceived," the inevitable result is, "it gives birth to sin," "it gives birth to sin." The decision has been made in the mind and now the sinful act is inevitably going to take place. He goes on to say that after that sin is conceived, that lust is conceived and gives birth to sin, he says, "and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." That means when the sin has run its course, when it's completely taken hold of you. Maybe you've allowed it to become something that where you're even characterized by that sin, you're marked by it because you've given in to it, you let it take over. Look at the result, "it brings forth death." Isn't that what God told Adam and Eve in the beginning? If you eat of this tree you will surely, what? Die.

Now, when we talk about death there's three kinds of death, primarily, that we're talking about. There's spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. Spiritual death, of course, all of us have experienced. And if you're not in Christ, if you've not come to that place where you've repented of your sins and put your faith in Him, then Ephesians 2 says that you are dead. It says that all of us "were dead in our trespasses and sins." By that, we're talking about a spiritual death, a human depravity, an inability to please God and even the lack of desire to do so. There's also physical death, of course, that all of us will experience unless Christ returns, also a result of sin, ultimately. And then there's eternal death. Those who persist in their sin, in their rebellion to God, refusing to repent and turn in faith to Him, will experience Hell.

So the question is, where are you in that list? All of us experience that spiritual death, but by God's grace, because of the work of Christ, He can give us life. And so the question is, have you come to that place today, this evening? Is that a reality for you? Or are you still walking in your rebellion against God, loving your sin, giving in to temptation time and time again?

Now, we have illustrations of where this has taken place with these different kinds of death. We have, of course, in the garden in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death and eventually physical death, as a result of sin entering into the world. Also, not too long after their sin they experienced death by one of their sons murdering their other son. Remember David and Bathsheba, when David sinned with Bathsheba and then she became pregnant, what did he do to cover it up? He murdered Uriah, further adding to death, and God ended up punishing him with the death of that child. Remember Ananias and Sapphira? They falsely presented themselves, they came and they said that we sold this piece of land and this is all the money that we sold it for, and they were lying, and they held back money for themselves, and God chose, at that point, to kill them on the spot, both of them.

God takes sin seriously. This is no laughing matter. This is not playtime. This is not a joke. Sometimes, I think, because we know God's grace, and we should know God's grace, and we should be thankful for God's grace, on a daily basis, but because of that, sometimes we think that maybe sin is not as big of a deal, and so we just kind of let sins in our life just kind of go without really dealing with them. Paul says, "May it never be!" "May that never be!" The fact that we're under grace, cause us to sin more? "May that never be!" This is no laughing matter. And we see even warnings of people getting sick and dying for taking the Lord's Supper in an inappropriate way. God disciplines for sin. And we should not take it lightly.

Now, let me give two points of clarification. Number one, temptation itself is not sin. Temptation, again, will arise for all of us on a daily basis. The temptation itself is not sin. From time to time people come for counsel and say, I just have all these temptations. Well, join the club. Temptation is a part of life. And it is learning to deal with it appropriately, biblically, is the point. It itself will not go away. Temptation is not sin, but certainly when we give in to that temptation, then it becomes sin.

Also, I want to clarify, James is not saying that the devil and his demons and the world don't tempt us. What he's saying is, those are external temptations, those are things offered to you and I externally, that the bigger issue is what James is dealing with, and that is, that there is an internal temptation that is much more difficult to deal with. The only reason that Satan or his demons have any success in tempting us to sin is because of this internal desire for those things. That's a much bigger issue.

Now, I don't want to leave us there because it's a little bit depressing. It just seems like there's no hope inside, we're just going to just endure these temptations and be beat around like by a wave and with no hope, but that's not true. And so, as we close, in this final section I want to talk just a little bit about overcoming temptation, how do we overcome temptation in our lives?

And really, I want to talk about two major things. The first one is, remember that the battle begins in the mind. And so, if the battle begins in the mind, then our fight against sin must also begin in the mind. Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 10, 2 Corinthians 10:3. Paul says,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we're taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we're ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

What I want you to focus on there is, number one, he is recognizing the fact that this is not a physical hand to hand combat, in a physical way, type of battle, but it is a spiritual battle, an internal battle and he says the way that they're combating this is, in verse 5, "We're taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." And so, if the battlefield is the mind and temptation comes through these thoughts that we have of a desire to sin that rise up within us, then the solution to that is to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. What does that look like? At the moment that that temptation arises in your mind, you have to kill it there, don't dwell on it, don't let it just sit there for a little while, actively take that captive and replace that thought with the truth of Scripture.

Turn with me to Philippians 4. You might say, well, what are we, if we're not supposed to think on that, what are we supposed to think on? Well, Philippians 4 has a great description in verse 8, Philippians 4:8. He says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there's any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Basically, the Word of God, God Himself. And so, the idea is that we memorize God's Word, we hide God's Word in our heart, when you identify that sin, those sins that are most often tempting for you, that you memorize Scriptures that deal directly with those sins and when at the very moment that that temptation arises, you take that captive and you think and force yourself think and act biblically.

Now, sometimes I think that we think that memorizing Scripture is like magic pixie dust, that if we memorize enough of it, then we'll just begin to live holy. Well, mere knowledge itself doesn't do anything for us except it can puff us up with pride, which is a bad effect. The idea is to obey what it is you learn from God's Word and to apply the Scriptures that you're memorizing. So it's not a race to see who can memorize the most Scriptures and then that's the key, no, it is to find those Scriptures, like Tom talked about it in the study of Ephesians, that are specific, that you can battle against those temptations that come, and you take that thought captive, that is, you remove that thought and you immediately replace it with the truth of God's Word and choose, by His grace, to do the opposite of that thing that you're tempted to do. It is a battle of the mind. So that's the first thing, remember that the battle begins in the mind.

Secondly, be willing to make radical changes, be willing to make radical changes. You member Matthew 5, I won't take you there, but you remember in Matthew 5, where He's talking about temptation, He says, you know, if your eye causes you to sin, what do you do? Gouge it out. Get rid of that thing! If your hand causes your sin, cut that thing off. Now, He's not telling us that we should mutilate ourselves, that's not the point of the Scripture.

The point is, be radical with your sin. You make the changes that you have to make, you set up the boundaries that you have to set up, you rid yourself of the friends that you have to rid yourself of, but you make the choice that I do not want to disobey God, I do not want to dishonor God. And so, I'm going to be radical in my lifestyle to be obedient to the Word of God, recognizing that we give our maximum effort, but all the glory and the fruit comes from and goes to God.

And so, the process may look something like this. You recognize the sin or the temptations in your life, confess any sin to God, find, possibly, accountability, an accountability partner that you can confess that to, that holds you accountable, but then you need to think through the times and the place in your life that you're most tempted to do those sins and the circumstances, and then you need to rearrange your schedule to change those things.

You know, one sin that often comes up is the sin of pornography. And men, and unfortunately women, who deal with that sin will come in broken hearted over that sin, as they should be, but when you ask them what they've done to make changes in their lives to keep from that sin, oftentimes there is little to nothing. It is as if I can keep doing the things that I'm doing every day and suddenly that sin will just go away. That's not how it works. You've got to kill it. You've got to get radical about it. And you've got to rid the things in your life that cause you to give in to that sin. If you struggle with food and eating too much food, then get the food out of your house that you're eating late at night, or whenever it is. Have someone to hold you accountable in that. But be radical in those things, don't just let them stay there the way they are and think that suddenly they're going to change on their own.

So, as we close our time together I just want to remind us of three things, briefly, that we've already talked about. As we apply this passage to our self, number one, never blame God or anyone else for your sin, or your temptation. Never blame anyone else, especially not God, for your temptation or your sin. Secondly, recognize that your biggest problem and my biggest problem, is not the devil, it's not your parents, it's not your friends or the world, your biggest problem is you, and my biggest problem is me, and that's where it starts. We've got to stop pointing fingers at other things and take responsibility and make changes. Lastly, with the help of the Holy Spirit, make the necessary changes in your life to guard your mind and your feet from stumbling into sin.

I hope this has been encouraging to you. Temptation is a universal thing that all of us deal with, but God has not left us without hope. God has not left us without His Word to guide us. Let us pray together.

God, it's always convicting as we come to Your Word and we look into our lives and we see so many areas that are deficient, that are in need of change. God, we deal with temptation on a daily basis and I pray for myself and for everyone here, God give us the ability to take captive those thoughts and to obey Your Word instead. May we not tolerate sin in our life, but be quick to repent and, by Your grace, to turn from those things. And we ask all this in the name of Christ and give You the glory, amen.