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No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Comedian Flip Wilson used to do a skit in the 1970’s in which his ‘character’ did all sorts of things wrong. Whenever he was caught his quick response was to say it wasn’t his fault, “the Devil made me do it!”

It was just a silly skit but lurking in the shadows of the laughter is a truth that none of us should ignore. When bad things happen to us, or to others, our first tendency is to place the blame on someone. We blame other people, we blame God, we blame government or employers. We even may blame the Devil, or Satan.

There are three things each of us must realize about ‘the Devil’. First of all, the Devil, or Satan, is a real spirit person just as God is except that he doesn’t have nearly the power God does. Secondly, the bible is very clear that Satan is the root of all temptation and that his main goal in life is to draw us away from God. Lastly, and this is the most important thing, if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we can order Satan to leave. In fact the Bible says that if we resist him, he flees from us.

The third statement about Satan is very important when we are tempted to do things we know we are not supposed to do or when we don’t do things we know we should do. Temptation is not sin. Being tempted is a thought; sin is acting on the thought. The bad news side to temptation is that if we act on the temptation we have no one to blame but ourselves. If we get angry or bitter or unforgiving, that’s a choice. When I over eat, refuse to exercise, text while I drive it’s not the fault of the person who wronged me or the person who made the good food or the cell phone company. If I sin, I’m the one to blame. Not Satan, not God, not you. Me.

The good news is that when God allows temptation to come (He is never the source of temptation) He will also provide a way of escape if we ask Him. His desire is to see us succeed, not to see us fail.

Those of us who struggle with addictions know all too well the struggle of giving in to temptation. Whatever that addiction is (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, pornography, food) we want in the worst way to resist and yet we find ourselves giving in over and over again.

If you struggle with sin (if you think you don’t you are in denial) let me remind you that the same Paul who wrote to the Corinthians to say that every temptation has an escape, also wrote to the Romans to say that the very things he wants to do he doesn’t do and the things he hates doing he finds himself doing.

In Jesus Christ we have hope. Jesus’ desire is to walk with you through temptation so that you can see victory in those areas of your life that seem out of control. Be patient with yourself. Know your enemy. Plan your escape through Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. You alone know the struggle I have with giving in. It seems no matter how hard I try I can’t have victory over the things I hate doing. I thank you for your forgiveness and patience with me. Thank you for giving me second and third and fourth chances. I ask that you would help me to battle the habits and actions that plague me daily. Help me look to you for the victory I need. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to resist the temptations as they attack me. In Your name I pray, Amen.

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