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Taking Responsibility

Daily Reading: James 1

Scripture Focus: But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1.14-15)

Devotional Thought: We live in a 'blaming culture'. People say that what they do is not their fault, and therefore it is not their responsibility to fix, change, or even try to control it. Some people in James' day went so far as to blame God for their failures. James would have none of that. He laid the blame right where it belonged: allowing sin to progress in our lives:

  • Desire. We all have desires. God made us that way. Desires are not evil in and of themselves, and they are different for each one of us. What gets our attention? We need to know so that we can properly control our appetites.

  • Temptation. The things that get our attention, soon get our affection. Temptation comes when we consider fulfilling our desires in ways that are not legitimate, compromising our integrity to get what we want. We must say no to temptation just as Jesus did.

  • Conception. When we say yes to temptation, we have taken the next step in the progression of sin. What temptation conceives is the assent of the mind to do the thing we know we shouldn't. That is just as sinful as the act itself.

  • Sin. Having granted mental assent, it is just an easy step to actually do the thing forbidden. The action cements the decision.

  • Death. Each sinful step takes us further away from God. "In him was life", so when we are moving away from God, we are moving toward death.

James gives a solution in v. 21, and it is our responsibility: "Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."

Prayer: Lord, help me to discipline my desires, turn down my temptations, and master my mind so that I might live according to your will. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 44.9-16

9 But you have rejected us and disgraced us

and have not gone out with our armies.

10 You have made us turn back from the foe,

and those who hate us have gotten spoil.

11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter

and have scattered us among the nations.

12 You have sold your people for a trifle,

demanding no high price for them.

13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,

the derision and scorn of those around us.

14 You have made us a byword among the nations,

a laughingstock among the peoples.

15 All day long my disgrace is before me,

and shame has covered my face

16 at the sound of the taunter and reviler,

at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

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