Have you ever felt like you were in a trap and hopeless situation, or done something you could never be forgiven for? Have you ever been so tempted by having something that you went into debt over your head? It seems like this is the average person today especially in America. We will sell our souls and future just to have “things”. We all know someone or several people like this. Is this just being greedy and stupid or is there more at work here? There can be several “excuses” but the real issue is what we have been studying in this series, The Unseen War.
What most of us fail to realize or even acknowledge is that this is all part of our fallen nature and with the help of our false friend Satan something that has or will affect every person that has lived on this earth including all believers in Christ. OK if this is something we all have to deal with then is there possibly any answer?
Let’s look at James Chapter 1
James 1:1-26 (NASB)
1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;
10 and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.
11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
There is so much in this chapter that we could take months just studying this but for our purposes we will look especially at verses 14-22 Here James tells us this problem we have is rooted in our OWN lusts. This is not really something we would like to hear. But with our own lusts and our tempter working hard to get us to believe this “I have to have everything I want” or else I can never be happy, we really are facing a very strong enemy. What can we possibly do? Is there any help? It all seems hopeless. Then the 2 most beautiful words we can ever hear come into focus
But God. Let’s look at Ephesians chapter 2 especially verses 8-10
Ephesians 2:1-21 (NASB)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands—
12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
17 AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;
18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,
Our one and only resolution to this problem is the salvation provided by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. At the very second of our conversion or salvation we NO LONGER HAVE TO LISTEN OR OBEY our sin nature or Satan. He will still try but by God’s grace we no longer have to be a slave to anything he wants us to do. This truly is the ultimate gift while we are on this earth. We are no longer slaves to anything but Christ and He is the kindest and gentle taskmaster there is. How do we receive this great gift? Just look at the preceding verses in Ephesians. It is no more complicated than accepting this free gift by having faith that Christ died for our sins and paid our sin debt that we could never in all our life repay. Is this not awesome?
Next month we will wrap this war up by looking at the only weapon we have and that is The Word of God. No weapon ever created or will be created is powerful as this one that we receive at the moment of salvation
In His Name