C. Readiness to face temptation. 1:19-27
Our hearts and minds are like a simmering cauldron which can be stirred up to a boil and flow over either through the passionate flames of the love and glory of God or the vengeful flames of hatred burning like a furnace in our soul. We are warned against ourselves of this temptation that is seeking a voice to be expressed from the depravity of our hearts – which are so deceitful!
Hosea 7:4-7 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
Since temptation comes from within, we must prepare our hearts and minds to overcome it. We cannot accomplish this of ourselves.
Psalms 19:12-13 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
We must yield ourselves to God. Note what James instructs us about –
1. Counsel for victory over temptation. 1:19-21
We are to reflect the righteousness of God in our –
a. Reasoning. 1:19a “…swift to hear…”
Psalms 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
b. Response. 1:19b,20 “…slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
This exhortation is not only directed at situations that arise at home or work, but also in church and in the ministry of God. We can destroy spiritual work through our carelessness! People get offended in spiritual matters and, through anger, guilt, or fear strike out at others.
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
The exhortation is not only to refrain from sleeping on your wrath, allowing it to grow out of proportion and take control of your emotions, but also this was the beginning of the Jewish day, upon sunset – do not begin a new day in wrath! Sleep in the grace of God and begin the day in the blessings of God –
Psalms 63:3-8 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Lamentations 3:22-24 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
c. Respect for Him in our testimony. 1:21
1). Reject evil. 1:21a
2). Regard for His Word. 1:21b
2. Careful in complete obedience. 1:22-25
a. We are tempted to be –
1). Divided in our loyalty. 1:22a
2). Deceiving ourselves. 1:22b-24
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
But, if we are to glorify God through our temptations –
b. We are trusted to be – 1:25
1). Devoted to God’s Word.
2). Doer’s of God’s work.
Do you desire to hear the Word of God?
Do you think about what you hear and consider your response?
Can you be trusted to know God’s Word and do God’s will?