But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.James 1:14(NASB)
When we are tempted to sin we must not forget that temptation never comes from the Lord, but has its root in sin. Temptation comes to us through the outer enticements of the world and the inner lusts of the flesh. If we give into temptation we sin, but when we resist sin's evil bait.. God turns that temptation into a meaningful trial, which He uses for our greater good and His own glory.
Temptations and trials are the opposite sides of the same coin. God in His wisdom and grace gave man a free-will, to make his own choices in life.. so that when we are tempted to sin we have a choice: to sin OR not to sin - that is the choice. We can allow ourselves to be enticed into sin OR to resist sin. We can be governed by our old sinful, carnal nature and refuse to keep self nailed to the cross OR to we can be guided by the Holy Spirit and walk in spirit and truth. We can allow ourselves to be a slave to sin or a servant of righteousness - to yield to the temptation and dishonour God by sinning OR to resist the temptation and give glory to God by resisting the temptation.
As children of God we are exhorted in many passages to resist temptation and to choose the path of righteousness - indeed the Scriptures give step by step guidance on how to live godly in Christ Jesus. Yielding to temptation or resisting temptation is a matter of individual choice, and we alone are responsible for the choices we make in our own life and the consequences that follow.
We live in a day and age when the sinful choices we make are too often blamed on some problematic environment, poor parenting, faulty genes, difficult circumstances, financial constraints, a traumatic experience and a hundred and one other alternatives, which shifts the blame for our ungodly choices onto other people or circumstances. Indeed both God and Satan are equally blamed when we fall into sin - “Satan made me do it'.. or “it's all God's fault, He made me like this'. Even a faulty and unscriptural interpretation of the Bible can be used as an excuse to sin.
Truth hurts, especially when we try to justify our sinful choices, but the Bible makes it clear that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked - and when we yield to temptation and then try to make excuses for our own sinful choices - our defence freezes on our lips. The truth is that each one of us is tempted to sin when we get carried away and enticed into sin by our own leud, lustful leanings - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. Anyone who gives-in to any type of temptation, stands silent before God - for it is his own inner passion that carry him away and, which serve as sin's bait.
Temptation is likened to a worm on a hook which entices a little fish out from its hiding place.. or a snare in a forest which entraps its unsuspecting prey into its dangerous, deadly iron teeth. The source of temptation comes from within our fallen heart but it is only translated into sin when by thought, word or deed we yield to it's tempting bait. When however that same source of temptation from within is resisted - the coin is flipped over and the temptation to sin becomes a test of faith.. that God will use for our eternal good and for His greater glory,
Heavenly Father, help me to recognise my own responsibility for the choices I make. Forgive me for the times that I have excused sin instead of repenting and turning back to You. Keep me low at the cross and looking to Jesus, and help me to make the right choices and to resist temptation.. in the power of the Holy Spirit, to Your praise and glory, AMEN
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