Temptation – Deceived or Self-inflicted?

More than likely many of us have done things we thought were charitable only to later find out that what we had done was wrong and had to pay the consequences.  Have you ever done something and then later find that it was wrong?  I suppose if you drive a car, J-walked, etc. you have broken some law.  What about telling a white-lie, spreading a rumor, taking more from a cashier’s mistake than you should have or something minor, wasn’t that a sin?

I suppose many Christians are never tempted and yield to breaking the Ten Commandments but what about the little things?  Have you ever unintentionally said something or done something that was hurtful?  Every day I suppose we make decisions that had we been more conscious of what we were doing or saying we wouldn’t have.  How much are people influenced and tempted by evil spirits?  The great deceiver is always there to take us down.  However, just because we make a bad decision we can’t blame it on the devil or ask God why He allowed us to do so.  We have been given free moral agency, meaning that we have the right to make good or bad decisions.  We have no one to blame, in most cases, but ourselves.

I believe we are bombarded by evil thoughts continually. But how do we know when we are yielding to temptation and when we have just made the wrong decision? I have addressed the financial situation many find themselves in. You cannot drive anywhere in Las Vegas that you do not see homes foreclosed, strip malls shuttered or businesses closed. If this has happened to you it can be devastating and can physically impair one’s health.  The thing you cannot do is to blame it on someone else, whether it is the devil, God or the banker. How foolish it is to hear that because a daughter was injured, her dad gets mad at God.  Doesn’t he realize we live in a sin filled world? We must be careful not to blame it on God when it was really not His fault.  The same is true when we say: “The devil made me do it”.

We are going through a very political time in the history of America.  What is one thing you hear most everyone say: “It is the fault of that other guy”.  We would rather lay blame on someone else than fix the problem or admit our failure.

There is nothing wrong in trying to determine if we were deceived or the problem was self-inflicted.  Regardless what caused the mistake, it is wrong to allow self-pity to keep us from correcting the situation and moving on.

It didn’t take me long to learn that God does not create failures. God has a plan for us and wants us to be successful. That doesn’t mean we won’t experience failures in life, because failing sometimes provides the experiences necessary to go on to greater things. I have read of many Christian business people who failed, went into bankruptcy, and came out as some of our country’s most successful citizens. But they have what it seems so few have: a positive mind-set and a can-do attitude.

Too many fail to live according to Christ’s principles and as a result give up.  It is hard for many to overcome defeat.  Defeat or failure can be long lasting or temporary.  Satan’s goal is to help us become defeated and then keep us down.  But failure can be a blessing, a teaching experience.  Think of the hundreds of times Edison tried to invent the light bulb?  How easily it would have been for him to listen to the great deceiver and given up.  But Christians have a Spirit within that is there to put positive thoughts into our thinking.  So we must be careful to whom we are listening and realize life can be a struggle.  When those trials and struggles come we must be careful not to place the blame on the “not me monster” who we would like to accuse rather than accept our own mistakes.

Regardless of whether we yield to temptation stimulated by Satan or our sins are self-inflicted, we must always keep in mind; God does not necessarily judge us by what we do as much as He judges the condition of our heart and our spirit.  Thank the Lord for forgiveness and grace!  Don’t ever let evil thoughts keep you down.

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