You most likely have heard someone say, “The devil made me do it,” or “If you didn’t want me to eat that, (use it, take it, etc), you shouldn’t have left it laying around.” Perhaps you have heard someone, in trying to excuse their actions say, “Well, all the other guys (or girls) were doing it!”

    It seems part of our human makeup to try and ascribe the blame to someone else, anyone else or anything else, other than to accept blame ourselves. Sometimes folks will even try to blame God for their mistakes in life. You will hear people say things like, “Well, God just made me that way,” or “God shouldn’t have put that temptation in front of me,” rather than admit any guilt themselves.

    I don’t know about you, but I was raised to believe that people can’t MAKE you do anything you don’t really want to do, (this is taking into account the exception of them using violence against you to force you). Having said that I need to ask the question, “Do you believe that?”

    Well what does the scripture have to say about this? I was reading the book of James today and this passage stuck with me. Notice what James says in James 1:13-15, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” 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. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (NIV) Perhaps another modern translation will make this idea a little clearer. “And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.” (NLT)

    One of the interesting things about this passage is the word translated from the Greek language as “entice” in the first translation and “lure” in the second. The Greek has a more specific meaning and gives us perhaps a picture of someone out fishing. The idea behind the word is, “to catch with bait”, such as putting a worm on a hook for a fish. So what James is pointing out is that we sometimes, “Catch ourselves with bait we have put on the hook ourselves, luring and tempting ourselves until we finally give in.”

    Perhaps we need to take a close look at our lives and consider what we may be setting before ourselves to tempt us into something from which we should stay away. No one else can MAKE us sin, we do it to ourselves. Sure the Devil is there cheering us on to make the wrong decision through television, movies, magazines and supposed friends, but we make the final decision ourselves. The Devil doesn’t MAKE us do it and neither does God.

    Are there things you need to put away and stay away from in your life? You know how it works and what you need to do, just do it! – Russ Lawson

God bless you all and have a great week,

Michael