James draws a practical portrait of what a child of God is and what he/she should strive for. James helps us see through the deceptions of the devil. The first thing is to face the facts concerning sin. He said you cannot win at the game of sin.
James 1: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
With every day that goes by, the condition of the world gets worse. Evil used to have a shock effect on neighborhoods. The devil has deceived people and shock has worn off. Be careful not to become numb and indifferent. Don’t think that because God is not striking others down that he won’t strike you. The lightening is coming. God will judge. What is passed by law or accepted as normal doesn’t matter. God’s law is supreme and will prevail.
The world needs to repent. We need to beware the tempter. We are in his sights. He likes to play games making sin not sin, making what is serious not so serious. He baits the hook and dangles the worm. You concentrate on it and don’t see the hook and line, just like a fish in the water. The devil is a good fisherman and knows what to bait with. James lays out the truth reminding us how sin works.
Sin entered into the world by one man and one woman in the Garden of Eden. It was passed on to all generations. Verse 14 says every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. This doesn’t apply to just a few people. Everyone is susceptible. The devil wants you to think this sin is okay for you—make you think you’re the exception. None of us are above sin. We’re still in the world, in this flesh. If we get careless, rest assured, the devil will move in. He’ll get you to sin by word, deed and in the mind. We need to acknowledge this and repent if needed.
First John 1:8 reminds us if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Why do we do it? The devil plays it down. He wants us to get used to it. He works is so the sin appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life. He comes to each person differently because he doesn’t work on our strengths. He targets weaknesses. He lies to make you think that it’s all right to walk in the flesh or have a haughty attitude or to covet. He pulls and draws to get us from God. It’s time to face facts. Your power and prestige is no match for the drawing power of the devil. You need God. There is a drawing from the world and the flesh. The devil will wait for a weak time and set in on you. Don’t think he only uses things like alcohol and drugs. Those are but two of many things he uses. Remember, if you hate your brother you live in death. If you’re not faithful, you’re in trouble.
It’s time to get down to business. The devil is busier in the church house than the world. He’s got Washington in his hands. Let’s not let him have God’s house. Don’t think that it’s all right to gossip and find fault. The devil is not behind you or in front of you in your seat. He’s sitting in your lap. We are not devil proof. Watch how you brag. He plays the game well and will tell you it’s okay to do this and that. I’ve got news for you. It’s not.
Verse 15 says then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. The devil makes you think it’s all right. You know what God says and see it in others but not yourself. You are deceived. Lust is conceived. Sin follows. When you harbor it, sin adds to sin. Repent. I’m not talking about a tiny little prayer half asleep. Praying is not a game. Being a Christian is not a game. The devil plays the game and wants you and me to play back. It will get bigger and bigger until you feel like you’ll burst. Sin comes out. It brings death making a hasty finish of a spiritual life.
A person might feel alive when in his sins but he’s never been more dead. There is no greater darkness than being dead in trespasses and sin. The prodigal son thought things were better outside his father’s house but found out otherwise. There is no sweeter joy than the Father’s house. There is nothing greater than to be in the arms of God. You don’t need what the devil offers.
So, what are we to do? The power of sin is strong. That’s exactly right. What can we do? If you’ve never been saved, give your heart and life to God and he’ll take care of it. If you are saved and the devil is working on you, don’t use your own power. Call on the Lord. We need the helping hand of the Lord just like Peter needed it when he walked on water. Verse 21 says wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. We can’t win at the game of sin. Jesus won the victory on Calvary. I’d rather be in his hands. Therein is the help we need.