There is a great opportunity to serve the Soup Kitchen by volunteering at the Casman Centre during an Oil Barons hockey game next! Students and parents are all welcome to participate. Soup Kitchen Director Joseph Enverga has asked that volunteers show up early at 6:30pm, and everything you need to know will be explained upon arrival. Volunteers will need to help through the end of the second period.
You can stay and watch the rest of the game for free!
If you have any questions, please call Joseph: 647-273-6473
Overview: Session Two
Have you ever bought something that you really shouldn’t have bought? What made you want to buy it? Why do you think you shouldn’t have bought it?
These were our icebreaker questions for session two of our series on James. The passage we studied this week is James 1:13-18.
In the first part of chapter one, James addresses the topic of trials. He encourages his readers to see suffering as a part of God’s plan to make us more like Jesus. We may not fully understand the reason behind our suffering, but we can trust that God is using everything in our lives for our good and his glory. In this next section of chapter one, James begins to talk about temptation.
What’s the difference between trials and temptation?
Trials are typically a circumstance beyond our control, and temptation is described in this passage as evil desire that comes from inside each of us. God allows suffering, and even orchestrates it at times, but he never causes temptation to overcome us. We must understand that temptation is from within, and that when we submit to it, it always leads to sin and death. But we must also understand that God wants to help us avoid temptation. His desire for us is that we would have freedom and true life. When we realize that temptation always leads to death, but that God gives good and perfect gifts, we have the power we need to say no and turn away from evil.
Francis Chan shared the illustration of a fish tempted by a lure. Just like a fish, we find ourselves in situations where it seems like something in front of us can only be good and satisfying. To a degree, that may be true. But ultimately, taking the bait will lead to death. In that moment, the fish can save its life by swimming away from the lure to freedom. God wants us to swim away from temptation and run to him. Only in him can we find true and lasting satisfaction.
Practically speaking, then, what is the best way to deal with our evil desires?
There are many different helpful practices to put into place, but it all begins with the knowledge of what is true. We must know God for who he really is, and know the promises he has made to us, then we can live accordingly. If I know that “every good and perfect gift is from above” (1:17a), then I will go to God for my happiness instead of giving into temptation. If I know that sin leads to death, but God gives life, then I have the power to say no to sin and yes to God.
Memorize scripture. Pray with others. Encourage others. Thank God for his blessings. Set up boundaries and be accountable to others. These are all ways to deal with evil desires.
“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (1:18). If you are a follower of God, he has brought you out of darkness and into his light. There is a new way of life for you. And the work that God is doing in his children is only the beginning of what he wants to in other people’s lives as history moves toward a time when people from every nation and tribe and tongue will worship the one true God, and there will be peace and truth and justice forever.
Don’t give into temptation. Remember God’s love for you. Pursue righteousness and ask for wisdom. Live in light of what God has done for you and what he wants for you.
Live It Out
It’s no good to have a head full of knowledge but a life without change. Here are some suggested action steps to help you apply the teaching in James. You can also find these suggestions on the handout that comes with each lesson on Friday evening. At the start of the next session, we’ll take a few moments to share any stories we have of how God is at work through our obedience by action!
- Memorization: Learn 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15-16; Matthew 26:41; Psalm 51:10; and/or another verse that applies to a particular temptation you struggle with.
- Journaling: Write about your temptations and how you respond, but also about the joys you experience when you resist temptation. How does your relationship with God grow and soar when you trust him?
- Prayer: Think about others you know who are being tempted. Pray that God will strengthen them. But don’t let these be proud prayers – “watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Include The Lord’s Prayer in this devotional time, with special focus on “Lead us not into temptation.”
- Accountability: Look for others you can share your struggles with. Can you arrange to meet with them every week or two, and let them know how you’re doing? Fighting temptation can be a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be. When you know there’s someone else holding you accountable, it might give you additional strength.
- Joining or Volunteering: Our culture is full of temptations, and there are many whose lives have been ravaged by greed, lust, pride, or addictions of various sorts. There are also ministries that help those strugglers. Is there one you could connect with – as a volunteer, donor, or fellow struggler? *Be sure to discuss this option with your parents, perhaps even serve in this way WITH your parents!*