Victory Over Trials and Temptations

James’ opening words are “whenever you face various trials, consider it all joy” (James 1.3).

He uses the same Greek word for trial or temptation and writes in verse 12, “Blessed is anyone who endures temptation.”

How can we “consider it all joy” or feel “blessed,” when we encounter trials or temptations?

The endurance of trials culminates in a life that is “complete and whole, lacking in nothing” (James 1.4).

James describes the result of victory over temptation with these words:

“Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1.12b).

The Crown of Life

What is the crown of life?

One scholar writes that the crown of life is participation in “the life of the kingdom of God. The crown of life is the present life of grace and the life of glory which is to follow.”

Whether we understand it or not, the best life is available to those who endure trials and stand the test of temptation.

This becomes a faith issue. I don’t know anyone who enjoys trials and temptations.

While they are happening to us, can we trust God to use the situation to give us the best life possible?

James answers with a resounding “Yes.”

Further Clarification

The human propensity toward self-deception is immense. We do all sorts of mental gymnastics to avoid taking responsibility for our actions.

James draws the curtain of self-deception aside and reveals the truth of our situation.

No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.

But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it;

Then, when desire has conceived, it engenders sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death (James 1.13-15).

Some strange thought patterns may reason that if we are to rejoice and feel blessed over trials and temptations, then maybe God is the cause of them.

“Not so!” declares James. If God were tempted to engage in evil practices, he would cease to be God.

Just as if God were to cease loving humans, then he would no longer be God, the same is true of promoting evil and temptation among us.

There are three root causes of sin: the world’s system, human desires separate from God, and the devil and demons.

James places his focus on human desires that are separate from God in this instance.

Desire is a normal function of our humanity. If I see you eating an ice cream cone, it may produce in me a wish for one. That desire is not sinful.

If I see your ice cream cone and make plans to take your cone for myself, I have moved into the realm of sinful behavior.

Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine for his own and he has reached out to take it. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and innocent people have died, just as James taught.

Somebody wanted something that they couldn’t get and 39 mass shootings have taken place across the United States in just the first three weeks of 2023. Again, James is right that sin leads to death.

Many other “little” deaths occur from an unchecked desire that leads to sin.

Conflict, divorce, crime, damaged reputations, and much more are the “little” deaths that James warned us about.

This puts into perspective why we need to endure trials and gain victory over temptations. Victory leads to maturity and life.

When sin is victorious, it leads to death.

Let’s listen to James and hear him when he says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters” (James. 1.16).

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I talk about the Book of James on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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