Each one of us has found ourselves stumbling and no longer on the straight and narrow path of righteousness. For whatever reason, we have given into our sinful desires and taken the detour that leads to misery and destruction.
As human beings, we tend to assign blame to someone or something. We blame Satan or someone who seduced us into taking the steps that led us away from God. But, Satan nor others are to blame. We made the choice and took the steps. Each step was ours to make and we must bear that responsibility. It is so easy to quickly blame someone or something else for our actions. By blaming someone else, we try to shift the guilt away from ourselves and try to avoid the consequences of our actions. In the end, we are to blame and we must accept the consequences of our sinful behavior.
When God created man, He gave us free will to make choices for ourselves. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, they tried to pin the blame on others. Adam blamed Eve and she, in turn, blamed the serpent. No one likes to be found guilty of doing something wrong. It is a natural instinct to shift blame to someone or something else. I see it all the time. If someone makes a mistake at work, blame is quickly assigned to another person or to a process in hopes of shifting the blame and ultimate consequences away from him or her.
James, in chapter one of his epistle, writes, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 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.”
God does not tempt us to sin. He does test our ability to persevere and to deal with hardship. Since God himself cannot be tempted, it is not a part of His nature to cause us to be tempted. Temptation finds its roots within us and our sinful desires. We are the ones who give into our desires and allow them to lead us away from God. Satan can tempt us. He can suggest things to us and lie to us, but ultimately the choice to sin leads back to us.
We are the ones who must make the choice and take the steps to become disobedient. Sin, when it is allowed to grow, will lead us only to despair, destruction and death. There is no way to avoid that path to purgatory by our own actions save one. It is through the act of asking for God’s help to return to the path of righteousness. It is only through that one act where we can be lifted out of the pit of darkness and find restoration and love in the arms of the Lord.
When we find ourselves starting to stray, we must ask God for wisdom and have the faith to act. He will provide us with all that we need to flee from temptation and return to the safety of His love.
Again in chapter one, James writes, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.”
If you ask God for wisdom, He will give it to you abundantly. Think about King Solomon. When God gave him the chance to ask for and receive anything he wanted, he chose wisdom above all the world’s riches. God granted his wish and still blessed him with riches.
By looking to God and remaining faithful, we have anything we need in life. We do not need or want for anything. All that we have comes from His bountiful hand. It is when we desire more and look to other ways to achieve those desires where we find ourselves stumbling and falling off the straight and narrow. The choice always belongs to us. Do we fight off temptation and remain faithful to God or do we take a shortcut to our own desires only to find ourselves in despair?
I can tell you this. If you keep God in focus and the center of your life, you will not stray. If, however, you find yourself straying a bit, stop and ask God to deliver you out of temptation. As a good and loving Father, He will provide a way out of temptation and guide you back to the path of righteousness where you can stand firm in His grace.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.