James 1:14-15

Every day we all make numerous decisions based on the temptations/tests/situations set before us. When the result of our decision is what we want, we praise God:

“God is good, all the time.

All the time, God is good.”

And we become super saints, loudly praising God for all to hear.

When the result of our decision is not what we want, we say:

“God does not hear my prayers,

He does not answer me.”

Then we stop praying, praising, serving, and often leave church all together.

In this world we will face temptations/tests/situations (John 16:33). God gives tests for good results and Satan gives temptations for evil results. When we are faced with a situation that requires a decision, we often do not know if it came from God or Satan. Regardless of who presented the situation, we are responsible for the decisions we make. If our decisions are guided by our carnal minds instead of God’s Word, we will not like the outcome.

Verse 14 – each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 

Whether the situation was presented by God or by the devil, decide to please God and the devil will leave you alone (concerning that thing, for a while, James 4:7). We condemn ourselves when we do not think about God or the devil but do what we feel we are grown enough to do. When we do what makes our bodies, minds, and emotions “feel good,” we are dragged into the muck and miry of sin. Enticed by temporary pleasures, persuaded by alluring promises that lead to destruction.

Verse 15a – Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; 

“I pay the cost to be the boss,” may impress your friends, but you will not like the consequence of this attitude. The moment we become “me” centered instead of Christ-centered, our decisions will gratify our flesh instead of glorifying God. When we think we are “large and in charge” and do not have to answer to anyone, Satan is ecstatic. He does not have to tempt us. We tempt ourselves. 

Verse 15b – and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character,

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. (Author Unknown)

We must take responsibility for our actions. “The devil made me do it” will not abort the harvest you will reap from allowing your flesh to run rampant. Steven Cole, Pastor Emeritus and writer, offered four practical ways to overcome temptation. A summary of them are as follows:

Study and know yourself. Know what your vulnerable areas are.

Avoid tempting situations. If you are addicted to gambling, do not go to casinos for dinner. 

Have a predetermined commitment to follow Christ and to flee temptation. Keep your love for Christ fresh and the world will not seem so attractive.

Keep in your mind the end of yielding to temptation – death. 

Are you ready to take responsibility for your actions and admit the devil did not make you do it? Join the conversation.