This post is based off Becca’s talking notes that she used to teach the Sr. High students at IDX, the evening of Sept. 14, 2014
Big Idea: God does not tempt us, but He does test us.
He doesn’t do it so that He knows where we stand with Him, but so that we know where we stand. Following God does not mean that temptation is never around; it just means we have the power and strength from Him to knock it down.
We Knock it down by:
- Looking at the source – our desires to fill ourselves rather than trust God with it.
- Looking at where it leads – Desire Sin Death
- Look Up – Jesus’s life and death and sacrifice to take away our sins, acted as a re-birth for us. Because of Jesus, we are presented/seen/and loved as firstfruits to God.
Scripture: James 1:13-18, 22-25
We’ve been walking through the book of James and attempting to figure out how do we do this Christian life thing. If you call yourself a Christian, inevitably you have a moment where you feel like you have failed at being a Christian. You make a bad decision, you make a wrong turn on your life path, and you just don’t feel like all the prayer, all the church-time, all the believing has done any good, because you still mess up. If you are still trying to figure out if you want to be called a Christian and if you have lots of questions, and are still testing the waters, than more than likely one of the questions you have asked yourself is “How can I ever be a Christian when I struggle with (fill in the blank).” Or Christian or not, you ask the question, “How could God ever love me, if I do (fill in the blank).” Or “If I keep doing something.” Whether it be sex, drugs, hurting yourself, porn, hurting someone else, whatever it is that you know in the deep part of you is not right…why do you keep doing it?
I was going through some old journals not too long ago and these 3 questions popped up:
Why do I suck at life?
Why do I suck at living the way a Christian is supposed to?
Why do I keep messing up?
Last week, Alex talked about how we all have this desire to be perfect, to find complete joy. And we walked through James telling us it would be hard, but that those who walk through trials and preserve through them are blessed. Very true stuff, but next thing that James jumps up into is what about the times when you don’t persevere. What about the times that your faith, your life gets lured and dragged to a place you never meant for it to.
I want to show you a great clip, from a fantastic movie that is full of theological, heady material. I hope you guys like it…Finding Nemo – Angler Fish scene
Read with me, James 1:13-15.
A Temptation is : When an option is presented to your mind that you know deep down is a bad idea, maybe an immoral idea, but in a particular moment it feels so right. Temptations pop up in normal day stuff:
- Daily stress builds up and the voice in your head tells you to escape it all by drinking or looking at porn.
- Intense desire to be accepted and liked by a certain group encourages you to compromise your moral values.
- Profound loneliness leads you to obsess about your body, in the hopes that someone
- Hurt feelings make lashing out at someone feel completely, 100% justified.
How does it happen? – Beach trip – “Stay in sight!”
Not like a crashing wave…but a pull of an under-tow. You have no idea how far you’ve gone, until you look up and see you are wayyyyy further down than you thought.
Like a fishing lure, we get so focused on the bright, shiny, thing that we are pretty sure is going to fill us in this moment, and we get so transfixed by it, that we take our eyes off of God and choose this other thing instead.
I suck at life, because I fall to temptation.
How do you beat it?
Look at the mirror. Look at yourself. We talked the first night about how the book of James is all about needing to know our Identity so we can know our Activity. And crazy thing is…it works both ways. By looking at your Activity, you’ll be able to know where you find your Identity. Guys, if I can teach you anything about how to be an awesome person who builds an awesome world and impacts God’s kingdom in awesome ways…it’s this. Know yourself. Know why it is that you look at that website. Know why you take that drink. Know why you take picture and share it. Know why you do what you do.
1. Look at the Source: You.
We don’t trust God. But He wants us too. So, He makes every chance an opportunity to know Him.
God does not tempt us to sin. He is without/against/can not look at sin. He knows where it leads and would never walk His children down that path.
God does test us, but not so He will know where we are on the sanctification scale, but so that we will know. He doesn’t test us to see how strong we are, he tests us so we how strong we are. So that we know how and when and where to run to Him.
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t…He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
He wants us to know how far we’ve gone, so we can know the way back to Him.
2. Look at the sin, and see where it leads.
Hard, I know. In the midst of looking at the lure, it will take every power within you to take your eyes off of it, and instead to look past it and see where that decision, that lure, that temptation will take you. To see what the road potentially could look like at the end. But that is the fight. That is what James is talking about in vs. 15, he tells us what the path looks like as we look at the temptation. It starts out as desire, which gives birth to sin (because we acted on the desire and let something else fill our God-shaped hole), and then sin gave birth to death.
You have to be aware and you have to take action. You have to stand up and starting walking against the tow, back to shore, then back to where you are supposed to be. The same is true of temptations…you have to admit where you are, before you can ever stand up and walk back to God.
3. Look Up
James 1:18 – God chose to give us birth through the word of truth, His son, Jesus Christ, so that we could be looked on as His First Fruits. As perfect. As the best.
- Any thoughts, comments, questions from Becca’s talk?
- What kind of temptations are you good at resisting?
- What kind of temptation are you NOT good at resisting? (Remember, everyone’s is different and tailored made for them. There is no judgment!)
- What acts as “lures” for you? What do you desire in order to feel good/complete/whole?
- What emotions do you experience after you deny a temptation?
- What emotions do you experience after you fail at denying a temptation?
- What, right now is your biggest temptation, and how can your group pray for it?