13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Have you ever heard someone say, “God made me this way. Live with it.”
I’ve never heard that statement after an act of good behavior. It’s the kind of thing said after a temper tantrum or the repeat of an annoying habit.
The Bible, however, disagrees with that assessment. Our errant behavior can never be blamed on God.
God tests, but He never tempts. His tests are intended to grow us and reveal our faith deficiencies.
In fact, refusal to accept responsibility for our sinful behavior is unwise, inaccurate, unhelpful, unproductive, and foolish. It only leads to more sin and broken fellowship with God. You’re not walking with God, but away from Him.
God responds favorably to confession, a contrite heart, and a fervent desire to change.
But what about that part in the Lord’s Prayer where we’re to pray, “Lead us not into temptation?” Doesn’t that mean that God tempts us?”
Let’s take a look at Jesus’ instruction more closely. This is what He says in Matthew 6:13: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” The desired result of this line from the prayer is deliverance from the evil one. “Don’t allow the devil to have his way with me.” God may ALLOW us to be tempted for the purpose of testing, but He does not and will not tempt us. And as we discussed a few days ago, God always gives us a way out. Our focus text in James 1 clarifies, God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…”
The Tempter is Satan, but we’re the ones who bear the responsibility for yielding to temptation. Sorry, “The devil made me do it,” doesn’t cut it. “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”
That’s the sin nature at work. As Christians, we’re no longer slaves to it, but we do have to rely on the power and presence of God to rise above it.
On the day after Valentine’s Day, my wife and I gave ourselves permission to break our diets and purchased a massive box of chocolate candy at 50% off the original price. Soon as we arrived back home, Janet opened the box and we each had one piece of candy. After dinner, we retired to the living room and turned on the television. Then it happened. That box of candy began to talk. Called me by name. “Richard. Richard Weirich. There’s a giant box of delicious chocolate candy going to waste in the kitchen. Can’t you just taste those creamy delicacies. Next morning, Janet asked, “What happened to all the candy?” Yep. I ate the whole thing. Sucked in by temptation. The devil didn’t make me do it. God had nothing to do with my gluttonous behavior. Just like the scripture says. I was “dragged away” by my “evil desire.”
I know, there are worse temptations. Much worse. But I told you that story to illustrate that I had nobody to blame but me. Did Satan plant that thought in my mind? Maybe. But he didn’t need to. It was my desire that led to my overindulgence. Oh, by the way. I also paid the consequences. Felt awful the next day.
We need to stop making excuses for our behavior that is outside the will of God. The only one to blame is the one looking back at us in the mirror.
When you take ownership of your sin, confess, and repent, then God will forgive you, and help you remove that sin tendency from your life.
For more on this topic, check out this article: God Even Rescues Us from Ourselves
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats