How can pastors help their congregations deal with the temptations that arise every day? Teaching from James 2, Sinclair Ferguson describes our experience when tempted and the defenses we have in the Gospel. Though it may occur in an instant, temptation follows a five-stage pattern: attraction, deception, preoccupation, conception and, finally, subjugation. Our best response is to slow down, focus on the character of God, especially his unfailing goodness to us, and remind ourselves that the new birth has given us a new identity in Christ.
12Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.4 18Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.