Overcoming temptation (1:17-18) is vital for every believer. We must know how to overcome temptation and allow God to lead and guide us by His Holy Spirit. See the Evil One can lead us into sin only if we’re incredibly myopic. Don’t possess a narrow field of vision, don’t be short-sighted, or forgetful that every good gift comes from God. Consider everything that God has done for you in your life. Listen as we are reminded of this very fact in James 1:17~Every good gift and every perfect (τέλειος teleios) gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV) Did you hear that God does not change and He is at work in our lives giving us what is good for us? Juxtaposed is the Evil One, who tries to pull us away or entice us away from good, through temptation. (τέλειος teleios) means perfect, complete, lacking nothing. 

Thus, God gives us gifts perfectly matched for our personalities, perfect for our maturity level, and perfect for our needs. Forgetting the origin of all our good and perfect gifts can cause us to give in and yield to temptation. This is especially true during times of extended prosperity. When things are going good we often forget about the Giver and focus on our gifts. This was true for the Israelites time and again. Like when they came to the border of the Promised Land, great prosperity is in their future, but so was their greatest temptation. Therefore, Ole Mo warns them of what may happen if they don’t remain focused on God. What has happened to you when you lost your focus on God? Did you sink like Pete (Matthew 14:28-30), or stumble like David? Listen as Ole Mo instructs Israel in Deuteronomy 8:14~then your heart will become proud and you’ll forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (ESV) 

Understand God never changes. (Malachi 3:6) To illustrate God never changes, James writes all our good and perfect gifts come from God who has no variableness. The sun always gives light; it never gives darkness, and that never changes. In the same way. God does not shift from giving us good and perfect gifts to occasionally tempting us to do evil. Sin is the only thing that will ever stop us from receiving good and perfect gifts from God. Therefore, He wants us to go to heaven, but the Evil One wants us to go to hell. Do you see how sin is a choice we make? 

This is why James writes in James 1:18~Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits…(ESV) This echoes us being born again spiritually. Listen as Jesus shares in John 3:3~…Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (NIV) When we come to God, we get to start over, by being born again. No Nicodemus this is not about your mom, it is all about God and His perfect gift, of Jesus. James originally wrote to Jewish believers, who understood the term firstfruits. 

In the Old Testament, Jews offered the firstfruits (first crops to ripen) as an offering to God to express their gratitude and faith that more was to come. (Provers 3:9) When we remember we are the firstfruits of God’s new world order or kingdom, it should remind us to live as firstfruits, or examples, of God’s new creation in a world, overwhelmed with temptation. 

To be blessed by God, remain steadfast. (James 1:12) Stay faithful! Be faithful during 21 Days, be faithful all year long. And Know that God is with you, strengthening you. 1 Corinthians 10:13~ No temptation has overtaken you that isn’t common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV) As you head out today, Saint of God, trust in the Lord, and He will lift you up, and know that He will make a way for you.

Wash & Be Clean

Have you ever considered the outcome of temptation? (1:15-16) James describes the outcome like this in James 1:15~Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. When tempted, we need to consider the outcome, and I dare say that is the last thing on our minds. See, when conceived or gratified, sin leads to death. It can bring death to a reputation, death to happiness, or even death to a marriage. Keep in mind that the word death (θάνατος thanatos) also refers to spiritual death or eternal separation from God. 

The ultimate goal of the Evil One in temptation is our spiritual death. James is not referring to an isolated act or series of isolated acts, but rather a lifestyle of giving in or yielding to temptation, which leads to habitual sin. Listen to Ezekiel who referring to habitual sin and eternal death, writes in Ezekiel 18:20~The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. (ESV) Hear me, the consequences of giving into sin are always bad, and that’s why James writes in James 1:16~Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers (ESV) Just as night follows day, suffering always follows sin. As someone once famously said, Sin will take you further than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will cost you more than you want to pay. 

After David sinned, he wrote Psalm 51, where we see some of the consequences of sin. One is how sin makes us feel so dirty. That’s why David prays in Psalm 51:2~Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. (NLT) When we sin, we feel spiritually dirty. So we, like David, must come to God and confess our sin, as we ask Him for forgiveness. See, when God forgives us, he heals us and provides for us a better outcome. In sin we are bound for hell and yet God in Jesus gives to us the opportunity for redemption. 

Today, if you feel like you are separated from God, then I want you to confess everything in your life. Take the time needed to place your whole life under the blood. This is something we all must do as believers. It is about refocusing our thoughts, the way we speak and live all for the glory of God, in Christ Jesus. When it comes to our faith, we don’t have to feel like we are doing it all wrong. Let God renew you today.

Our Father In Heaven— Rulership OR Relationship — Matthew 6.9b…Handout

When is the last time you felt truly comfortable with God?___________________________ If I asked you to describe God in two words or less, what would you say?______ ______. Jesus answers that question like this in Matthew 6:9~_____ _______. How do you see or view God? Rulership or Relationship: Family,______, Reach.

1) A Family__________. We cannot have a relationship with a book, power, or force, but we can with a_______. If God is our Father, then who are we? His_______. It is very important we understand prayer is the privilege of family members_______. John 9:31~We know that God does not listen to______. He listens to the godly person who does his will. (NKJ) Jesus describes even the very religious Pharisees, as children of the devil. (John 8:44) Though they tithe on everything, they neglect justice. (Luke 11:42) Why? John 14:6~Jesus answered, I am the ____and the _____ and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV) We cannot be good enough or work our way to heaven. Not everyone can call God Father—only those who have become His children by receiving Jesus. (Romans 10:9) Prayer is a ________privilege, through which we talk to Our Father. 1 Peter 5:7~You can throw the whole________ of your anxieties on him, for you are his personal concern. (JBP) 

2)______Time. The Bible and Jesus both say that we can talk______to the Father, God. Old Testament, fatherhood was seen only in terms of a Creator. ______ times (OT), God is called Father, always as the Father . of the nation of Israel. In Old Testament prayers, even the greatest of saints would call God, Sovereign LORD. (LORD God, KJV) This phrase is used to address God more than____ times. He is also called God Almighty or the Almighty more than____ times. God is addressed by several other names, but_____as Father, on a personal or individual basis. This familiarity would cause many to have asked, what do you mean, God is close? Seems against the Old Testament, right? Yes / No. God wanted to speak with the people and walk among them. (Deuteronomy 23:14) Exodus 20:19~They said…You speak to us…But don’t let God speak directly to us…(NLT) The Jews called themselves children of Abraham, not of God. Before we can pray to God as Abba,______, we must become His child by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Being able to call God Father, Dearest Father, or______ Father, is fundamental in getting comfortable with God. Do you remember some of the frank conversations you had with your own kids? Yes / No

3) Reach Out And_______ Him. Galatians 4:6~Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out,______, Father. (NIV) One reason God gives us the Holy______ is to remind us we are God’s______and should therefore desire to address Him as Abba Father. This yearning is an indication we are His children, not slaves. (Romans 8:15-16) Another wonderful indication of a______relationship with God is a yearning to call Him Abba Father. It is also great to know every member of the Trinity is involved in our _______ when we say, Abba Father. Does calling God Abba, make Him any less Sovereign? Yes / No.