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I like to talk to myself ahead of time so when temptation comes, I’ve already made up my mind that I have the victory. – Joyce Meyer

Have you ever heard the saying, “The devil made me do it” after giving in to temptation? Sometimes we like to deflect blame from our own poor choices, don’t we? We even try and blame God for their failures. As though he made it impossible for them to resist wrongdoing.

God does not work that way for he is not the source of temptation. Rather, our own desires entice us to take what we want, when we want it. We know the feeling of being baited. God says something is wrong or evil, but we want it anyway. We have a choice at that moment. Just like that fish that’s being lured away, either I go, and I grab it, or I swim away.

Our heavenly Father is the source of “every good gift and every perfect gift”. So don’t listen to the tempter’s deceptive words. Giving into temptation takes us down a road from temporary pleasure to sin. What seems so small can have big consequences: Gossip could lead to a break in relationship. Gluttony can lead to chronic illness. Speeding can lead to car accidents. Our choices point us either toward life or death.

A kind word can pull someone out of suicidal thoughts. Healthy eating honours the body God gave us. Generosity combats our selfish tendencies. We often assume that the best way to fight temptation is self-discipline. Grit your teeth and do the right thing. And there’s is nothing wrong with saying no. But maybe there’s a better approach – also saying yes to the kind of life God wants to give us.

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. James 1:13-18

Written by Dr Charisse le Roux