Why do I sin?

In a lovers dispute in Alaska, 28 year old Gordon Druck, was charged with misdemeanor assault and second-degree felony burglary for allegedly pushing his girlfriend to the ground and later breaking into the village school where she was hiding from him.
He told troopers “I couldn’t help myself. I was mad. If I can’t have her nobody could.”

Why do we lose control?
Why do we continue in our sinful habits?
Why do we do the very things that bring destruction into our lives?
Why do we do things that in a moment of greater clarity we would admit that we really do not want to do?

The answer is found in James 1:13-18.

James 1:13–18 “Let 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. ” “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. ” “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. ” “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. ” “Every 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. ” “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

The end of this passage gives us hope. In spite of the sin described in verses 13-15, God promises us that our ultimate destiny is to be a “firstfruits of his creatures.” Of all the amazing aspects of God’s creation, his redeemed people are the crowing jewel. God wants us to be victors!

Knowing that God has destined us for victory enables us to see our struggle with sin as a struggle that will ultimately be overcome. In that struggle, we can grow in victory every day by applying the truths contained in this portion of James. This passage is one of the clearest statements of truth concerning the reason we sin and what we can do about it.

I. Victory Over Sin is Possible because TEMPTATION does not come from God. James 1:13 “Let 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.”

This is the first NEGATIVE command found in James. In this truth we are reminded that God is SUPREME over all things. He is in control of the amount and degree of temptation that can come into our lives. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not 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.” Knowing this, we can be assured that since temptation does not come from God, its source is subordinate to God’s control and therefore limited.
God is FOR US. Romans 8:31–32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Romans 6:14 “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

We can have victory because God is greater than the temptation that comes our way, God has determined that we will ultimately gain victory over sin, and He is FOR US in this current struggle.

II. Victory is Possible because Your HEART is a Movable Object. James 1:14
There are four lessons from the wording of James 1:14 “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

1. Temptation boils up in side of us. “Desire” Greek epithumia. Originally, the root of this word meant to boil over. It described smoke rising up out of the flames. “The words denote the direct impulse towards food, sexual satisfaction and also desire in general” TDNT. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 168.
2. We have no one to blame but ourselves. The word “own” is emphatic. The desire comes from within.
3. Temptation draws us out and leaves us exposed. “Drawn out” “This and the following word are metaphors from hunting and fishing. Drawn away, as beasts are enticed from a safe cover into a place beset with snares. Note the present participle, as indicating the progress of the temptation: “is being drawn away.” Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 729.
4. We are “lured” by the things we like, just like a fish

You must remember that your heart is a movable object.
We create situations of temptation by giving in to our natural impulses.
We do not have to do this!
Feeding our natural impulses is a CHOICE.

Our hearts directs our behavior. Jesus emphasized this truth in Mark 7:15 “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”” Also in Luke 6:43 ““For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,”

James once again is repeating a key theme taught by his earthly brother, Jesus.

We often act as if our hearts are unmovable. We believe that we are powerless to change our hearts. We continue in our sin and our attitudes will into our adult years. But such surrender to our inner urging need not continue. We can change our hearts and therein is the key to changing our attitudes and then our behavior.

How do I know that our heart is a movable object?
Consider the The PARENTS who are expecting their second child. I remember thinking that “I don’t know that I have room in my heart to love another child as much as I love my first child.” Then the second one comes along and you discover that your heart is elastic and has room to grow and to love another child just as much as you do your first!
Or consider the YOUNG WIDOW, torn by grief over the death of her husband. She doesn’t think that she could ever love anyone again. After her grief is ended she falls in love again.

But there is an even more profound example. We experience it every day as our hearts are moved by advertising!
ADVERTISERS KNOW that your heart is a movable object.
Most advertising is Image advertising. A product is sold by making you believe that certain qualities or characteristics will become yours if you use the produce. NIKE advertises athletic shoes and sports apparel without ever mentioning the quality of the shoe!!!
Slogans such as “Just Do It,” or “I am the bullet in the chamber,” prompt us to believe that if we wear Nike’s we will achieve athletic greatness. Why else would you pay $199 for a pair of sneakers that will wear out in six months?

Gatorade advertises “be like Mike and ” “to stop is to fail.”

So your heart is a movable object.

III. Victory is Necessary because Failure Brings Death. James 1:15
James 1:15 “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
IV. As a Child of God you are Destined for Victory. James 1:16–18 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. ” “Every 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. ” “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
V. How do I Move my Heart from Natural desires to Spiritual desires?
What hope is there for…..
*The wife who is bitter and angry toward her husband and feels like she can never forgive him
*The man whose heart is in the process of being given away to a flirting woman
*Teen boy trapped in a world of pornography and sexual self-satisfaction
*Worker bitter because someone else got the promotion you deserve
*Young girl defeated by insecurity and the desire for the approval of others.
*Addict helpless to quit the bottle, the pill or the cigarette, or the food.
*To EVERY MAN or WOMAN in the temptations of life that stem from a soul feeding on a rich diet of self pity, self indulgence and self gratification.

We need Brutal Honesty.
We must admit to the things that possess us. Here are some ways to know that something possesses us:
When you need that “thing” as a major source of happiness or fulfillment in your life.
When you can’t imagine living without it.
When you get angry at the thought of losing it.
When that possession is the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about at night.
When you find yourself thinking about it in every spare moment.
When you find yourself bringing it up in almost every conversation.
When you get upset if someone else touches it or comes near it.
When you plan your schedule around it.
When you enjoy that “thing” more than being with family and friends.
When worries and concerns about your possessions crowd out the joy in your life.
(From How do you know when something “owns” you? (Ray Pritchard, “The treasure Principle” 4/17/2005, http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2005-04-17-The-Treasure-Principle/

We need Sincere confession
FIRST to God
SECOND to the people you have sinned against.
A betrayed spouse
A wounded child
The person hurt by your angry words
To the children who have had less than a godly Father

We need Fearless Renunciation of the Pleasures of Self Gratification
Renunciation means that we turn away from the things that violate God’s heart. A.W. Tozer provides a powerful testimony of the essential discipline of renunciation.
There is the sweet theology of the heart which can be learned only in the school of renunciation. The books on systematic theology overlook this, but the wise will understand.

There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the life. Because it is so natural it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is; but its outworkings are tragic. We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.

The Christian who is alive enough to know himself even slightly will recognize the symptoms of this possession malady, and will grieve to find them in his own heart. If the longing after God is strong enough within him he will want to do something about the matter. Now, what should he do?

First of all he should put away all defense and make no attempt to excuse himself either in his own eyes or before the Lord. Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself.

Then he should remember that this is holy business. No careless or casual dealings will suffice. Let him come to God in full determination to be heard. Let him insist that God accept his all, that He take things out of his heart and Himself reign there in power. It may be he will need to become specific, to name things and people by their names one by one. If he will become drastic enough he can shorten the time of his travail from years to minutes and enter the good land long before his slower brethren who coddle their feelings and insist upon caution in their dealings with God.

The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.

If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God He will sooner or later bring us to this test.
Tozer, “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing” (The Pursuit of God)

We nee to Accept God’s Forgiveness and Walking Fresh in His Grace

We need to Value the Future Blessings of God more than the Temporary pleasures of Sin. James 1:18

Your ACTIONS follow your PASSIONS

1. Stop fooling yourself by feeding the flesh. Self-pity, TV, sinful friends and places
2. Change your diet! Replace secular music with Christian. Change your radio station.
3. Get back into the Word. Substitute 30 minutes of TV with 30 minutes of a devotional. Read a Christian book. Re-commit to church service or Bible study.
4. Pray frequently through the day and ask for the Lord’s help.