In the 1970’s a comedian named Flip Wilson had an award winning comedy show that won him a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards. One of the characters he created for his show was a woman named Geraldine Jones who was famous for her phrase, “The devil made me do it.”
The iconic phrase is still quoted as a way of saying that we’re not responsible for whatever it was that we just did. “The devil made me do it.” The writer James would disagree with Geraldine Jones.
I have to admit that it would be easier if “the devil made me do it,” so that I would not have to accept accountability for my actions. There are other versions of this phrase too. “My upbringing made me do it.” “My lousy boss made me do it.” “My friends made me do it.”
James said that temptation appeals to my basic desires. In his words, “…one is tempted by one’s own desire…” So I cannot blame anyone for twisting my arm or pushing me in front of the bus of temptation. You cannot tempt me to do something that does not first have a home in the desires of my heart.
The key to dealing with temptation is the management of desire. Jesus understood that when he faced temptation in the wilderness. Primal urges for food, significance, and power tempted him, but he knew that giving into them would cause the erosion of his character. Even though it was the devil that offered him empty promises, Jesus knew that ultimately it was he who made his choices.
Resisting temptation builds spiritual strength. Giving in to it makes one weaker. Someone wisely wrote, “Following the path of least resistance is what makes rivers and men crooked.’