James 1:13-18, “13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
Sometimes people like to place the blame as far from themselves as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a televangelist technically assign the blame to the wrong party. Sometimes they say God is behind something. Usually the credit goes to the devil, who usually isn’t that creative. We’ve seen people go wrong all by themselves, and people of the cloth aren’t immune. One pastor in a small city once pleaded for certain local families. His congregation was so moved, they generously gave sacrificially. The pastor himself was supposed to give the money to the various families. The congregation was suspicious when the pastor failed to show up to church the very next Sunday. An investigation revealed that the families in question didn’t exist. The pastor took the money and left everybody else wondering why. Sadly, in such small churches, there is virtually no way to find him or prevent him from swindling another unsuspecting congregation. That person can’t blame God or the devil. He has to wrestle with his guilt everytime he looks in the mirror.
It seems money and power is sufficient to entice most people into entertaining thoughts of sinning. Look at the process: each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. That evil desire is firmly entrenched in our sin nature. We’re born with it. We know it when we see little kids to mean things for seemingly no reason. Pulling hair, messing with siblings, and testing the boundries they were given. We’re dragged away and enticed. There’s no firm footing or natural resistance. I wonder if it’s anything like the smell of our favorite food or preferred dessert. It seems so good … but it has its consequences. Some of the things we desire most could be our downfall. Once desire has planted the seed, it takes root as sin. Sin ultimately leads to death. God has a fix for that. If we transplant a little bit of His nature in oursleves we can attain a resistance. Without a sin nature, desire is cancelled out and it doesn’t have to lead to sin or death. That’s what happens when you’re feet are firmly set in the truth of scripture.