James 1:12-27

Temptations on the Inside

James 1:12-27

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  [James 1:14-15]

“The devil made me do it!”  We’ve heard that line many a time.  Perhaps we’ve even used it ourselves.  Interestingly enough, James 1:14 says exactly the opposite!  “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”  In short, the responsibility is ours alone.  As a Christian, the devil cannot make you do anything you don’t want to do.  If you have been tempted and have fallen into sin, it is on you, there is no one else to blame.  Scripturally speaking, you cannot say, “The devil made me do it.”

Now, we need to be aware that the source of temptation is the devil.  “Satan is indeed the external source of temptation, but no one can blame him for the roots of sinful deeds, which lie within the individual.  In stressing the inward nature of temptation, James leaves sinners no excuse.” [Spirit-filled Bible comment]

What is interesting, though, is that the devil wants us to spend our time blaming him.  Why?  Because blaming him diverts us from our responsibility to mature.  Think about it.  If we can continually hold someone else responsible for our sin, then we have little incentive to change.  And that is Satan’s ploy.  He doesn’t want me [or you] to change.  He doesn’t want us to be conformed into the image of our Lord.  He’d rather we stay in our sin, and if blaming him achieves that result, then he’s happy to oblige. \

Repentance means change, deciding a different direction.  But before repentance comes confession.  We must first confess our sin; we must acknowledge that we have a problem.  This is taking responsibility for our actions, which is a key theme in James.  Faith without deeds [actions] is a dead faith!

It is difficult to say, “I have a problem.”  It is easier to say “others are the problem,” or “The devil made me do it.”  But with sin, it is true, I am a sinner [saved by the grace of God].  Satan may be the source of temptation, but it is our own fleshly desires that are enticed.  And once we give in to temptation the digression in v.15 is begun:  “when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown brings forth death.”

If we don’t flee temptation, we will one day fall to it; and when that happens we begin meandering down the road to destruction.  May we take heed to this very important warning and teaching of James this morning.