For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire,
he is dragged away and enticed.”
James 1:13-14, NIV
Every man and woman alive struggles with the temptation to sin. James clearly declares to us that when we are tempted to sin, it is not God who is tempting us. God will never tempt us with evil. He will never dangle sin in front of us to see if we will bite!
Knowing this to be true, most people believe that Satan does all the tempting. In the early 1970’s, comedian Flip Wilson popularized the quip, “The devil made me do it!” This expression became the rave among people from age seven to seventy-two!
Following every mischievous act, someone would exclaim, “The devil made me do it!”
In reality, the devil is often our choice scapegoat. But is he really the culprit behind our temptations? James says, “No!”
In this passage James identifies the real culprit, “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” If the truth be known, most of our temptation is self-generated. Most of our temptations originate in the memories of our past sinful experiences or are given birth to by new influences and stimuli that we expose ourselves willingly to. We conjure up old memories and use them to medicate our present loneliness and frustrations. We foolishly dally with new stimuli, falsely believing that we have the self-discipline to flirt with sin and then tuck it away at will. Most often, we allow ourselves to be dragged away from the standards that we know God has set for our own welfare to feed our own desires, to seek the “zip” that we sense God is withholding from us.
QUESTION: How about you? Have you been playing the part of your own little devil lately? Wake up! What boundaries do you need to re-establish in your life to keep yourself from sin?