Our Role in Temptation
Where does temptation come from? Many of us would say that it comes from the devil. There’s truth to that, of course. But even if the devil just took a month off every year, we’d still get ourselves into trouble.
All of us will be tempted at one time or another. The apostle Paul wrote, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).
Yet there’s something we need to recognize: we play a key role in our own temptation.
James tells us, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15 NLT).
In this verse James breaks down the steps of temptation for us.
First, we’re drawn away by our own desires. The temptation comes to mind and we say, “I’m not going to do it, but I’ll just take it for a test drive. I’ll kind of think it through. What would it be like?”
But then we take the bait, which makes us responsible. And we’re under its power, and frankly we’re enjoying the experience. There’s a momentary euphoria in sin.
Next, the problem is already in full bloom because we effectively bit on the hook. Then we’re enticed and drawn away. And ultimately that gives birth to sin.
We play a key role in our own temptation because the devil needs our cooperation in this area. And where there’s no desire on our part, there’s no temptation.
Remember, it isn’t the bait that constitutes temptation. It’s the bite.
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