Brothers | Losing It | Temptations
No one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…(James 1:13)
“The devil made me do it!” Decades ago, comedian Flip Wilson started a national craze with this line. It provided a hilarious excuse for any action, and while everyone knew it was a joke, maybe we believe it more than we say we do. “I couldn’t help myself,” we say. “It was just too tempting.” Another version goes like this: “God must be tempting me.” When we’ve tap-danced closer to sin than we should have and become hopelessly entangled, who do we blame? God. “Why did God bring that loser into my life? Now I’m stuck with an STD.” “Why did God put a liquor store right beside my house?” “Why did God make pills so easily available? Why did He give me bratty kids? Why did He make me so hot-headed? Is God tempting me?”
The mix-up comes when we confuse temptation with testing. Temptation is a pressing invitation to sin; testing is an opportunity for us to apply the truth God has given us. God never tempts people to do evil, but allows tests so that we can see our grades. For example, losing it when someone or something doesn’t go our way indicates we have an anger problem, but God did not tempt us to blow up. That sexy coworker or an invitation to a party you know won’t end well weren’t sent by God to see if you’ll sin. The devil tempts us, but even he cannot MAKE us sin. He does not have that power. Every response to a test or a temptation is 100% ours. God’s involvement in both is that He encourages us in the tests and empowers us in the temptations.
Final Thought: The God who is for us will never tempt us to do wrong. When we’re on His side, He’s on our side.
Prayer: Father, I have wondered sometimes if you are putting temptation in my path, but I see from your word that you never do that. You don’t want me to fail. You are for me. Help me recognize Satan’s temptations and resist. In Jesus’ name, Amen.