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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions.”— James 1:14-15 (NLT)
Do you know what I hate? When people blame the temptation they experience, and any subsequent sin or failure, on someone else. For instance, I have heard people blame God for their temptation, or even misinterpret passages, particularly 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Let me be clear: God does NOT tempt us with sin. If you don’t believe me, listen to the apostle James: “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else” (James 1:13 NLT). Don’t blame God who protects us from temptations beyond what we can handle by the power and strength of His Spirit.
Temptation is born in us from our sinful nature. Consider Paul’s words in Romans 7:8 (NIV), when speaking about covetousness: “But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting.” Because of our sin, temptation is born and grows into action. Oh, the enemy plays a part. He whispers in our ears to give in, he spews lies and deceptions, but he doesn’t make us do it. We make that decision ourselves and are solely responsible.
I am always strongly aggravated by the deflecting I see, but never more than when dealing with sexual sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says looking at a woman lustfully is an act of adultery. What burns me up is when I hear people, oftentimes men, claim that a woman caused him to be tempted and fall into sin because of what she wore, how she talked to him, or some other lame excuse.
The object of your temptation isn’t the cause of your temptation. That temptation came from your heart, not her attire, and YOU can choose to overcome your temptation because of the Holy Spirit within you. There is NO excuse for lusting after a woman, forcing oneself onto a woman, committing adultery, sexual assault, rape, looking at pornography, or any other form of sexual immorality.
You cannot control what someone else does, that’s between them and God. But you can control what you do and how you react to a temptation, because that part is between you and God. So, friends, let’s rely on the Spirit, let’s “run from temptations” (2 Timothy 2:22 CEV), and let’s take responsibility for our actions and sincerely repent when we fall.
DIG: Read Romans 7, 1 Corinthians 10, and James 1.
DISCOVER: Why do people seek to place the blame on others and cite temptation brought about by God or someone else as the cause of their sin? What’s in it for them?
DISPLAY: If you have ever blamed someone else for your sins or temptations, ask them and God for forgiveness.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.