“Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, produces death.” James 1:12-15
We live in a world that is far too willing to give the devil credit that he is not due. I’ve said and heard “the Devil made me do it” more times than I am willing to count. This scripture dispels the lie that the enemy had anything to do with it. We are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lust. It is in giving in to the desires of our flesh that tempt us that we sin.
Again, we have to endure through the temptation to overcome sin in our life. It is only when our faith has been tested and tried that we overcome and will receive what God has for us in heaven. Giving into the temptation leads to sin, which eventually leads to death.
It is not God that bring temptation; it is our flesh. It is not the devil that brings temptation; it is our flesh. The sin is not in the temptation; the sin is in giving into the temptation. We are called to walk by the Spirit.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
We know when we are being tempted by our flesh. We know the right thing to do. Scripture says:
“To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
That is also why sometimes we allow ourselves to get trapped in comparison. What tempts one person, may not tempt another. For example, a few years back I was visiting someone that was very much into the bar scene. Her idea of a showing me a good time, was taking me to multiple bars. I am not tempted by bars, honestly don’t remember if I had an alcoholic drink. If I did, it would have been one and I would not be tempted to have more. Bars have never been my scene, I admit that I visited more bars that weekend, than I had in my whole life up to that point. I was not tempted by my peers to have more, despite their actions. There are other people who can not go into a bar because it poses too much of a temptation. If I had been with someone that applied to, I would have passed on the bar.
I have also had people tell me that I can not do certain things, because it is sin. At times, that has been 100% true, sin is sin. The Bible clearly states certain things as sin, and that doesn’t change just because I want to do it. Society tries to say that certain things are okay. We have made compromises to the Word of God as a culture, but it does not change the truth of the Word.
It is also why sometimes God convicts one person of something, that another does not feel convicted about. There are other things that man has called sin, that God doesn’t. Not reading my Bible in the morning because I am not a morning person, is not a sin. I remember sitting in condemnation for a while because I could not make myself get up early enough to have quality time with God. Mornings were rushed trying to get three kids ready for school and getting off to work. However, I had been faithful to have quality time after they went to bed, before I went to sleep. While as my life changed I was able to develop a morning habit, God was not calling my actions sin, man was.
Or I remember while sitting on a nonprofit board, I felt convicted about the fact they served alcohol during fundraisers, while the program was trying to help people out of addiction. While I held that conviction, it did not mean the rest of the board did, or that the donors did. What was within my power was to abstain myself from the alcohol, setting an example, until my commitment of service to the board was over. It was not my role to convict or condemn them for not seeing things the way I did.
Temptation is personal. It is our strong personal desire for something that makes it a temptation. I am tempted by chocolate, my husband can take it or leave it. He has literally had candy sitting on the counter since before Christmas that he just takes a little piece of when he wants. Eating chocolate is a sin, but when I chose to indulge in it, instead of treating myself in moderation, thus giving way to the strong personal desire, it is sin. I do not keep chocolate I really like in our home because I know I give into the temptation too easily. I know that gluttony is a sin and I don’t need the temptation.
So the next time you are tempted to say the devil made me do it. Pause and be honest with yourself. Remind yourself of this scripture, and tell yourself the truth, and then repent. “I gave into my fleshly desires. I allowed myself to be tempted and I chose to give in to it. Lord, forgive me of my sin. Strengthen me to increase my faith in this area, because I know with You, I am more than a conqueror.”
Prayer: Lord forgive me for giving the devil credit for my fleshly actions. Forgive me for giving into temptations. I want to walk in the Spirit and be controlled by the Spirit, not the lusts of the flesh. Help me to be stronger in Your Spirit, to exercise the fruit of self-control instead of giving in to the flesh. I know You will always provide a way for me to overcome temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. I Corinthians 10:13