Sermon series: Pressure Points

  1. When You Suffer - James 1

  2. The Lure of Sin - James 1

  3. Performance or Mercy? - James 2

  4. The Power of Words - James 3

  5. Why We Fight - James 4

  6. Retaliation or Rescue? - James 5

To be used with: Session Two, The Pressure of Temptation
Alternate title: How to Catch a Rat
Scriptures: James 1:13-18

Connection to unit theme

We like to shift blame. In the midst of temptation we like to blameGod for our struggles. Scripture shows us that the pressure of temptation comes from our own hearts. God doesn't tempt us, but He has provided rescue from our temptation. Because of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf we can withstand the onslaught of temptation.


How do you catch a rat? One particular way is to use a rat poison like d-Con. D-Con is roughly 99 percent rat food and 1 percent brodifacoum. This poison is used to thin a rat's blood so rapidly that it begins to hemorrhage. Of course you would never catch a rat if you sat out a finely decorated bowl of brodifacoum. It wouldn't appeal to it. That is why the deadly poison is masked by that which appeals to rats; namely, food. Led by their stomachs these rats eat what will slowly lead to their undoing.

Not only is brodifacoum deadly, it is also patient, which is why it is the key ingredient in mouse poison. Because of the slowness of death mice aren't able to associate it with their demise. I doubt rats have funerals, but if they did the obituary would not read death by that tasty bowl of food that Speedy just ate. They would blame another culprit for their demise.

We are like those rats. Killed by our own desires we look for other sources of our demise. James1:13-18 helps us to see that God is not the one that entices us to sin; it is in fact our own natures that make sin so enticing. Thankfully, God graciously changes our natures so that we can withstand temptation.

I. God does not entice to sin

In James 1:2 we see that trials are inevitable. In James 1:13 we see that in this age temptation is inevitable.

A. We are tempted to shift blame for our temptation

  • Notice the pattern in Genesis 3

  • Proverbs 19:3

  • In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus teaches that we are more likely to look at specks in our brothers eyes than the log in our own

B. God is never the source of our temptation

  • God cannot be tempted

  • God tempts no one to do evil

  • This does not mean that He will not bring trials or even test us, but he does not entice anyone to do evil.

When we feel the pull towards sin and rebellion we are never allowed to shake our fist at God and say, "You made me this way". Temptation does not come from the Lord. It has another source.

II. Our natures make sin enticing

Just as with the rat we drink the poison of sin because we are enticed by our desires.

A. Temptation comes from within us

"Desire" is any intense longing for that which God has forbidden (see Genesis 3:6)

B. Temptation is tailored to our "own desire"

  • It is unique to each person.

  • One man might be mightily tempted by something that holds no enticement over another.

C. Temptation wears a mask

  • "Drawn away" and "enticed" are fishing and hunting metaphors

  • Temptation rarely comes in the form of its grandchild (death)

D. Temptation eventually brings forth death

  • What begins as desire turns to sin

  • Sin "fully grown" births death

Sin is attractive to us because we are not yet fully redeemed. James is urging his readers to not give in to temptation because it inevitably leads to death. Thankfully God is at work to change our natures.

III. God changes our nature

The source of our problem is our nature. Apart from Christ we aren't wise enough to see the poison of sin. Truthfully, even if we did see the poison of sin we would still rebel. By nature we hate what we should love and love what we should hate. Yet God is in the business of changing our natures and restoring our desires.

A. Every good gift comes from a good God

  • God is the creator of the good gift of creation

  • God is the creator of the good gift of new creation

B. God has given the gospel to rescue us from death

  • He changes our desires

  • He overturns our death sentence


Apart from grace, we will have a foolish thirst for poison. Thankfully God has redeemed us from this insatiable hunger for our own destruction. We are still tempted, but through Christ sin is losing its luster. James 1:13-18 is a call to flee the lure of sin as well as a call to celebrate the new life we have in Christ.

Mike Leake is the husband of Nikki, father of Isaiah and Hannah, as well as the associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Jasper, Indiana. He frequently writes at SBC Voices and his personal blog, He is also slowly working toward completing his Master's of Divinity degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.