“SATAN MADE ME DID IT”                     By Pastor YAU

Text: James 1:12-18                                      November 28, 2010.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Problem of a woman: In March 2009, a 62-year-old woman was charged with stealing more than $73,000 from her church in Washington state. When the detectives interrogated her, she told them: “Satan had a big part in this theft.” It sounds like she was saying that the devil made her do it. Satan may have played a role in her choices, but she has some faulty thinking about temptation and sin. The devil does tempt Christians to sin, but he can’t make them sin. When we sin, it is not because of Satan, and certainly not because of God. It is we who decided to sin.

2)   Problem of Christians: So who is to blame when Christians sin? In responding to the faulty claims made by the early Christians when they sinned, James says, “Each of you is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:14) As a fisherman uses bait to lure his prey, the fish, he can’t make the fish to bite. So, it is our own evil, unchecked desires that lead to giving in to temptation and sin. When we disobey God and sin, let us not shift the blame to Satan, or God, or anyone else and say it is so and so that makes me do this.

 

WHY IS THE BLAME GAME?

1)   It’s in our nature: “The man said: ‘The woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13) Here is the first blame game played by our ancestor parents, blame someone, anyone, but yourself. Ever since that day, the blame gene became part of all human being, include you and me. When something goes wrong, the first thing comes to our mind is find someone or something to blame.

2)   It’s about responsibility: Or just the opposite. Being responsible of our action is a sign of being mature and courageous. When we try to push away the blame of our actions, we expose the true color of our character or the lack of it. When we mess up something, blame on others, push away our due responsibility, we in fact are damaging our own character, if we still have any.

3)   It’s about consequence. Or so we hope. Every action carries consequence either good or bad. All choices of sin have bad consequence and we don’t want to be responsible about it. We blame others for our wrong choices hoping to avoid the consequence. But in most cases, we can’t. God wasn’t fooled by the blame game. So Eve and Adam faced their consequences.

4)   It’s a foolish strategy: In real life, everyone will know the truth, just a matter of time. No one can fool all the people all the time. Some may try to spin the truth, others may blame someone else, but truth will come out and we all have to face it. Blaming, spin the truth or turning the table will only blind our eyes to see the truth and change our course to do the right thing.

 

WHAT SHOULD WE DO THEN? (James 1:12-18)

1)   Don’t play the blame game. “When tempted, no one should say ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (1:13) James advised early Christians not to blame God for temptation or falling into temptation. God will never tempt anyone to cause him to sin. We should not blame the devil or anyone else for our choices and actions. Everyone faces temptations, but it is our personal decision to fall or not to fall into the trap of temptation.

2)   Facing the truth squarely: “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” (1:14)We see a two-step procedure to face our true color. a) We fall into the trap of temptation because of our evil desire on the inside of us. And it is 2) because we are being dragged away from God and his truth. This is a very important step we need to take because it is the only way we can truly come clean and cut tie with the evil desire on our inside. If you want to blame someone blame yourself.

3)   Never take temptation lightly: “After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, give birth to death.” (1:15) James points out the sequence of development in temptation and sin. It all starts from evil desire. Then it is acted out in sin. When sin is not curbed and is allowed to grow, it will eventually bring death to the sinner as punishment. So, we need to stop the process from start, the evil desire in our hearts. There is no need to play the blame game, if we can control its process.

4)   Focus on the bright side: “Consider it a pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face temptations of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (1:2-4) There is no need to explain these 3 verses. God wants us to see the bright side of facing temptation. If we exercise our faith and perseverance in time of temptation, we will be mature and complete in what God has asked us to be. Temptation is a boot camp for faith and maturity. Without the testing process, no one is complete.

 

THE REWARDS OF VICTORY: (James 1:12-18)

1)   Receive the crown of life: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he ahs stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (1:12)Overcoming trials or resisting temptations is never easy for anyone. For this God has promised exceptional rewards for those who stand firm in their resistance and come out victorious. All things of value have a price and the higher the value, the steeper the price. When we pay the price for God, He will never miss notification and reward the faithful.

2)   Receive the perfect gifts: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly light, who does not change like shifting shadow.” (1:17)No one may guess what the good and perfect gifts are. But since they are to come down from the Father of heavenly light, we can be assured of their exceptional value and glory of God. These gifts will make our life on earth as blessed as that in heaven, and all the heavenly glory when we see the Lord face to face. This promise will sustain us through the journey of life in this world and the life in heaven to eternity.

3)   Receive divine birth right: “He chose to give us birth though the word of truth.” (1:18a)As John has expressed in John 1:12, “To all who received Him, to those who have believed in his name, He gave (them) the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)No one may live or give anything to earn the birth right of being a child of God. The birthright guarantees the gift of eternal life of God. Our willingness to live for God on earth will bring us eternal life of God in heaven.

4)   Receive the honor of first fruit: “That we might be a kind of first fruit of all he created.” (1:18b) First fruit represents the most important and the most precious of all fruits. Our obedience and steadfast resistance of temptation and victory over it will place us as the most honorable fruits to present to God. God will treat us as His most beloved precious possession in His kingdom. It is an honor unparalleled to anything anyone may dream of. For this, we will be very happy to live a life that will honor Him.

 

CONCLUSION:

1) Here is God’s promise: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) There is no need to blame, spin, deny or pushing the bucket. We can come to God, confess our sins

to receive complete forgiveness. Blame game will never work.

2) Follow God’s way: When facing temptation, we need to face it seriously. Need to seek God’s strength to resist all temptation, not to allow evil desire any foothold before it mushrooms to full blown sin and death. In all our choices, we seek God’s wisdom to make right choices. Be aware of all pitfalls and stand firm for God. Be ready to receive rewards God promised to give us.