July 21 I Saturday
“But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” —James 1:14
The blame game is almost as old as human history. Adam and Eve were given one commandment in the Garden of Eden. They could eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When they disobeyed God, they knew they had sinned and immediately felt shame, but when God confronted them, neither took responsibility.
The responses they gave cast blame in three different directions. Adam’s excuse to God was, “The woman You put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12). Like many of us, Adam’s first instinct was to blame his circumstances or pass the blame to someone else. Our upbringing and environment can certainly contribute to our vulnerability and there are also those who will sway us, but giving in to temptation is a choice we make ourselves. The blame ultimately rests with us.
Secondly, Adam blames God. He might as well have said, “If You, God, had never put this woman in the Garden none of this would have happened.” By implication, many people will blame God when giving in to temptation. They say things like, “It’s my inbuilt weakness. It’s the way I was made and I can’t do much about it.” James clearly states, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone...” (James 1:13).
Thirdly, after hearing Adam’s response, God turns His attention to Eve, who immediately passes the blame to the serpent. This is the first recorded instance of someone saying, “The devil made me do it.” The devil is a very real and active presence in this world and will seek to pull us down any way he can. He will cast doubt and provide attractive alternatives to the will of God, but if he were to die tonight, we would still sin tomorrow.
Sin is mainly an inside job. We are born into this world with an inherently sinful nature that is self-seeking, but this does not excuse us from culpability. That is why Jesus works from the inside out, changing our disposition of heart so that we want to do what is good, right and true. The first step in reconciliation to God is repentance, confessing our sin and holding ourselves accountable. We are all sinners, fallen people who have given in to temptation, but casting blame somewhere else will close the door to all that God would do in our lives. It is the humbled, repentant heart that leaves room for Christ to enter, and He alone, becomes our strength in the face of every temptation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I do not want to play the blame game any longer. I surrender my proud heart to You, recognizing that I alone am responsible for my sin. Be my strength, Lord, in the face of every temptation.