Summary: We know from our study of God’s Word that the promised result of persevering through trials is the reception of blessings from God. But what is the outcome when we blow it, when we fail?

How To Recognize The Source Of Temptation

James 1:13-18

Preached by Pastor Tony Miano

Pico Canyon Community Church

December 10, 2000

Introduction: Let’s pray.

Turn in your Bibles, if you will, to James 1. We’re going to be studying verses 13-18 this morning.

Our study of James to this point has led us, at least I hope it has led us, to a clearer understanding of the reason for the trials we face and the promised outcome if we persevere through our trials. But what happens when we don’t endure the trials we encounter? What happens on those occasions when we fall short of God’s glory? After all, all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. I know I do.

We know from our study of God’s Word that the promised result of persevering through trials is the reception of blessings from God. But what is the outcome when we blow it, when we fail? What is the outcome when we fail to live by the faith we have in Christ? James is about to tell us. Let’s read 13-18.

This morning we’re going to talk about how we can recognize the opportunity for failure before the situation gets to the point that we’re left disappointed, looking back at our mistakes. That opportunity for failure begins with temptation. So, let’s look closely at what James has to say in this passage. In the process, we’re going to learn how to recognize the source of temptation. I think whom or what the source is may surprise you.

In the first twelve verses of his letter, James’ tone or attitude was intended to encourage and instruct his readers. Beginning in verse thirteen, we see the tone change. The tone becomes that of a stern warning. James is not being harsh, here, but he is becoming more serious.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the commands James has given to his readers up to this point are affirmative commands—meaning he was instructing his readers to do something. In our passage for this morning, we see James give negative commands—meaning he was instructing his readers not to do something.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; (1:13a)

James begins this passage with one of these negative commands—“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God.’”

Interestingly, James uses the verb form of the Greek word, peirazo, translated as trial or testing in verses 2-4. But in our verses for today, specifically verses 13 and 14, the word means, “to tempt.” The context helps us to see how the meaning of the word changes from verse to verse.

We’ve established in our study of the first twelve verses of James’ letter that God allows trials to occur in our lives in order to test our faith. God allows and intends this testing for our good.

But the context of verses 13-18 clearly shows the same Greek word to be something negative, something to be avoided, and something not to be attributed to God. Our understanding of the word can be helped by identifying who James is referring to in verse thirteen. He is not talking about the person who is blessed because they successfully endure the trials of life.

We need to go back to verses five and six to see whom James is talking about. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (1:5-6).

In our passage for this morning, James is referring to the doubter who lacks wisdom. “This person’s incomprehension of the wisdom of God leads him to view trials as a provocation to sin, [a temptation]; therefore he sees trials as evil. What he has failed to understand is the truth about himself” (Richardson, p. 78).

I’ve had ample opportunity over the years to deal with people from all walks of life that didn’t understand the truth about themselves. There is an interesting mentality in the world of street gangs—one that I know is not uncommon to the rest of the world. But in the world of criminal street gangs, this mentality carries with it an almost perverse exaggeration. It’s the idea of blame shifting.

It is extremely rare for a gang member to take the blame, to take the responsibility for something they have done. Oh, after a little intense coaxing, if you will, they will admit to what they’ve done, but they won’t take the blame for it. They most certainly will take pride in what they’ve done, but no matter how egregious the act, it is always someone else’s fault.

“An eye for eye” is a code of ethics among gang members. The ends always justify the means. Revenge is accepted and expected in the gang world. To not take revenge is a sign of weakness, and weakness can be a fatal flaw among gang members—even among members of the same gang.

Part of the problem lies in what today’s culture, and the school system for that matter, is teaching these kids. It’s the idea of situational ethics. The idea that certain moral parameters can be set aside depending on the circumstances a person may be facing.

Now, we may see the most extraordinary cases among criminal street gangs, where a code of ethics dictates that if you stare at me, I have to punch you. And if you punch me, I have to hit you with a bat. And if you hit me with a bat, I have to stab you with a knife. And if you stab me with a knife, I have to shoot you, or your car, or your house, or someone in your family. But we see the same kind of logic among other, less threatening, members of society.

In addition to working street gangs here in Santa Clarita, my unit was responsible for investigating all juvenile related crime in the city. By the time I left full-time duty with the Sheriff’s Department, the statistics showed that juveniles, anyone under the age of eighteen, were responsible for well over 60% of the crime in the city. The majority of that crime was not gang-related.

Most of the kids committing the crimes in our city are kids, not from the so-called “other side of the tracts,” but kids from Valencia, Saugus, Northbridge, Stevenson Ranch, and every other neighborhood, and every social-economic background. What I once saw as primarily a gang mentality, I see now in the quote/unquote “good kids.”

Interview after interview, interrogation after interrogation, I would see the same thought process as I confronted kids about the things they had done. “It was the right thing to do at the time.” Even if they came to an understanding, during the interview, that what they had done was wrong, many of them would hold on to the belief that it was the right thing to do at the time.

Who do we blame for what kids are thinking today? Maybe we should blame MTV. Well, if you’re going to blame MTV, you might as well blame the Disney Channel, because the kids are going to get some of the same messages on both.

Maybe we should blame the schools. I remember a pep rally my partner and I went to several years ago. Some of you know this story, so bear with me. It was a district wide rally to promote, among other things, positive thinking among the teens in the valley.

Literally hundreds of kids were gathered in the gymnasium, ironically the gymnasium of Master’s College (and in their defense, let me say that Master’s just rented the use of their facility, they didn’t participate in the event), gathered to listen to motivational speakers and participate in team building activities. Sounds good, doesn’t it? For the most part, it probably was.

But there was a portion of the assembly that caused me and my partner to just shake our heads. The organizers gathered everyone in the bleachers, turned down the lights, and began showing a series of motivational messages on a projection screen. The messages would bring the obvious reactions of clapping, foot stomping, and cheering.

One message, which drew a fairly loud cheer from students and teachers alike, was this one: “There are no good motives. There are no bad motives. There are just your motives.” My partner and I, typically weren’t ever too surprised by the things we see kids (and schools for that matter) do. But this one kind of left us speechless, just staring at each other for a couple of moments.

How can we expect kids to discern right from wrong, make responsible choices, take responsibility for their actions, and show remorse when they screw up, when they are being fed this kind of information?

Maybe we should blame parents for what is happening to our teens in this country. I certainly had ample opportunities during my career as an investigator to do just that. There were several times when I would do a search warrant or probation search at a kid’s house and find pictures of the kid doing dope with an adult relative, or one of their parents.

In fact, while we’re at it, let’s blame God. After all, God is sovereign. He is the Master of the universe. Surely it is by His direction that man does the terrible things man does.

I have heard on more than one occasion people say things like, “I could never love a God who would allow 6,000,000 Jews to die in concentration camps.” Or, “how could I possibly love a God who allows children to starve around the world?” You’ve probably heard other similar rationales for blaming God for the sins of the world, the temptations of life.

This idea of blame shifting goes back in time as far as sin itself. We see the first case of blame shifting in Genesis 3:12. “The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.’” Although the scene is a tragic one, after all this is when sin entered the world, if you close your eyes and picture the scene it has an almost humorous quality, too.

I’m sure you ladies would agree that men haven’t changed over the centuries—but you started it. It was Eve that gave Adam the fruit. Oh, wait. I’m shifting blame. You see—we haven’t changed.

James had to deal with the same kind of reasoning among some of his readers. Some of the early Christians believed that God was the root cause for them doing the things they ought not to do.

James has a pointed answer for those who would think God is the source of temptation. The wording James uses in verse 13 makes his command very specific. When he says, “let no one say,” he is speaking to each and every person as individuals. No one is exempt from what James is saying here. We can look at James’ command this way. “While being tempted, each and every person must stop rationalizing in their own minds that God is to blame for their temptations.”

We can take this idea a step further. The word translated as “by” in verse thirteen can also be translated as “from.” This little word is significant. It’s significant because it carries with it the idea of remoteness. In other words, James is telling his readers that they are to stop thinking of God as even being remotely responsible for their temptations. “[God] is in no way and to no degree responsible, directly or indirectly, for our being tempted” (MacArthur, p. 46).

. . . for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (1:13b)

James answers the inevitable question, “Why not?” in the second half of verse thirteen—“because God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” James’ brings out both the character and activity of God in this phrase. James’ reasoning is awesome here.

James uses a Greek adjective here, which, like the word “double-minded,” some scholars believe was James’ own creation. The word is found nowhere else in the Bible and it speaks directly to God’s character. God is “untemptable.”

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:1 that we should “be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Would a holy and righteous God call His children to do evil? Of course not. God cannot do or be that which is contrary to His character. Likewise, His actions are always consistent with His character. Since He is an untemptable God, He will not tempt anyone.

What we see here is one of God’s characteristics that set the one true God, the God of the Bible, apart from every other god. If we look at the gods of other religions, whether ancient or present, the character of these gods, in many ways, resembles the character of their followers. Take for instance the gods of Greek mythology. They were certainly an unseemly lot. They were prone to all of the sins and vices of common man. They were jealous in an unholy sense of the word. They were vindictive, lustful, and deceitful.

These false gods were temptable and evil. And this brings us to one more thing we need to take from verse thirteen. We need to have a clear understanding of what James means when he uses the word “evil.” Most people probably won’t come out and say that they blame God directly for the temptations they face. But I’m sure we’ve all heard the claim that, “The devil made me do it.”

There are plenty of ministries out there today that play on people’s belief that Satan is responsible for their weakness in times of testing, in those times when they fall prey to temptation. These ministries teach people how to do battle with Satan, how to speak to him, how to renounce him, how to cast him out. Not only are many of these so-called ministries outrageous in their practices, they leave people placing all of the blame for temptation on Satan’s shoulders.

Now, as we look at the word “evil” as it’s used in verse thirteen, it’s important to note that there are three genders in the Greek language—masculine, feminine, and neuter. The word “evil” in verse thirteen is neuter. This means it can be more literally translated as “evil things.”

James is not referring to the evil one in this verse. He is not referring to Satan. He is referring to those things that would be the complete opposite of those things that would be considered morally and ethically good. Evil things are those that are the opposite of the “wholesome and beneficial” (Hiebert, p. 91) things of life.

God allows for trials in our lives for our betterment. Satan may use temptation to try to provoke us to sin. But neither God nor Satan is the source of our temptations. God isn’t making you do it and neither is Satan. Look at verses 14 and 15.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (1:14-15).

Although temptation is certainly experienced by every man, woman, and child, James’ use of the words “each one” shows that it is an individual matter. The present tense signifies that each and every person is continually being tempted. And the source of those temptations, the source for every person, is his or her own evil desires. Each of us is the source of our own temptation.

Each of us fall prey to temptation because we are literally dragged away and enticed by the sinful desires of our heart. James uses some metaphorical language here to make his point. The ideas of enticing and dragging away were commonly used to describe the activities of fishermen.

I love to fish. My dad and I started fishing together when I was a teenager. In fact my sister found some pictures after my dad died. He carried these old Polaroid photos in his wallet. She gave them to me just the other night. They are pictures of some of the more memorable catches we had.

My dad and I had some great fishing adventures, some great fishing stories. They are all true, of course. When my dad and I first started fishing, we didn’t have a clue as to what we were doing. We would try everything and anything to get a fish on our lines.

My dad was completely convinced that he was going to develop the bait of all baits, the mother of all sure fire, irresistible, fish catching baits. Now, you need to realize that this is the same guy who once put a fully cooked chicken neck on a hook and cast into the water, sincerely believing that he was going to land a record breaking catfish. That chicken neck hit the water with such force that if there were any fish in the area, they probably died from shock.

My dad would spend hours doctoring up various kinds of cheeses. He would use garlic, food coloring, and other forms of paraphernalia. Then he went through his vegetable phase. He tried peas, carrots, and pickles. You name it and my dad probably tried it. If any of his inventions ever worked (which, to this day, I’m not convinced that any of them did), he would quietly tuck the bait into his pocket and give me something else to use. My dad was also a very competitive man.

The goal was to find new ways to entice the fish to take the hook. Once the fish is on the line you need to set the hook and reel it in. For those of us who fish, this part of the game is every bit as much of a science as finding the right bait.

Once convinced that there is a fish on your line, you have to set the hook. You set the hook by quickly and strongly pulling the rod tip back and up. If your drag is set right on your reel, you can bring in a heavy fish on relatively light line. There are documented records of fisherman who have landed fish weighing several hundred pounds on 4-6 pound test line.

Temptation works in much the same way. We see our desires like a fish sees bait. We convince ourselves that if it looks good it must be good, so we go after it. How shocked we are, as a fish must be, when we find out that what seemed good on the surface was concealing something more dangerous, something like a hook. A fish taking the bait can be attributed to plain, old-fashioned animal ignorance. Man is not so lucky. James makes it very clear that man is without excuse.

Before we know it, we are now struggling to get off the hook. Yet like the temptations in life, we find ourselves being dragged away, being reeled in. A heavy fish can be brought in on light line. So too can we be lured into very heavy, sinful circumstances by relatively light, seemingly innocuous temptations.

Satan is known as the great deceiver. He is the father of lies. He is a master at his work. Certainly Satan is capable of dangling the bait before us. But what causes us to take the bait? Is it God? Is it Satan? No. It’s our desire to have what Satan puts in front of us.

Once we take the bait, once “lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin.” James uses another, more explicit, metaphor to make his next point. Here he is painting the picture of a child born as a result of an encounter with a prostitute. James follows the analogy through the birth of the child to his death in later life. He uses the analogy to graphically explain the consequence for giving in to temptation.

Once we give in to our desires, the inevitable outcome is sin. Once conception takes place, a baby grows. The child grows quickly in the mother’s womb, with the inevitable outcome being the birth of the child. But this is where the similarities end. Childbirth brings forth life. On the other hand, sin gives birth to death.

Once a person is born, they will eventually die. The word “accomplished” in verse fifteen can be more literally translated “brought to completion.” After birth come growth, maturity, and aging. It is an inevitable, unavoidable process. When this lifetime process is “brought to completion,” the person dies. Our sinful desires result in sin, falling short of the mark, falling short of God’s glory. And that sin, without God’s direct intervention, always leads to death.

Another thing I like about James’ writing is his straightforwardness, his refusal to mince words. What James tells us in verses fourteen and fifteen is difficult teaching. It may have been difficult for some of his spiritually immature Christian brothers and sisters to grasp. Likewise, it may be difficult for some of us to take in without feeling that James is being too dogmatic.

For the unbeliever who hears these words, this information may seem like little more than judgmental rhetoric. It may even seem like foolishness. The reason is this. The apostle Paul wrote these words in his first letter to the church in Corinth. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (I Cor. 2:14).

In order to have as clear an understanding of what James is saying as we possibly can, we need to be clear about what kind of death James is talking about. Certainly our sinful desires, which inevitably lead to the commission of sinful acts, can lead to physical death.

In fact, death of any kind, by any means, can be traced back to sin. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” But James’ reference to death in this passage is primarily dealing with spiritual death. The basic meaning for the Greek word for “death,” which is thanatos, is “separation.”

Our God is perfect and holy. His righteousness is so pure that no sin, no sin of any kind or degree, can ever be in His glorious presence. What forever separates man from God is sin. Without the forgiveness of sin, the bridge between our heavenly Father and us can never be crossed.

Our religious practices will not bridge the gap. Our good deeds will not bridge the gap. The rituals or wrongly assumed authority of a particular church will never bridge the gap. The prayers of those who we deem to be spiritual or religious will not bridge the gap for us.

This is why God sent His only Son to pay the penalty for our sins. The penalty for our sin is death. Without the sacrifice of a perfect, spotless, sinless Lamb, we would all stand condemned for the sins we have committed.

But God’s grace is pure. His love is perfect and complete. God came down. As we draw close to Christmas, let us reflect and meditate on the fact that God came down. Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

Without God’s amazing grace, without His divine and perfect intervention, without Jesus Christ coming down and suffering the cross in order to be the one and only mediator between God and man, we would be forever separated from God because of our sin. We would have no one to blame but ourselves. It is not God’s fault. “The devil made me do it,” is not an argument that will ever hold up in the Supreme Court.

We need to recognize that we are the source of our own temptations. Our sin is our responsibility. There can be no blame shifting. Remember, every time you point a finger at someone or something, three fingers are pointing back at you.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (1:16)

Now that James has opened the eyes of his readers with the stark realities of sin and death, he lowers their blood pressure—just a little—with his affectionate yet firm command in verse sixteen. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

James’ warning can be read this way. “Stop being deceived!” The wording in this verse is such that James is telling his readers to stop doing something that has already started. He is telling them not to continue with the present activity. And that activity is the act of allowing themselves to be deceived.

The Greek word translated “deceived” means to “lead astray” or “cause to wander.” James is telling his readers that they should not allow these errant thoughts about God’s participation in temptation to cause them to wander from their first love—Jesus Christ. They should not be led astray by the misconception that they should vacate their own responsibility for their actions and place it in the hands of the father of lies—Satan.

Again, James speaks earnestly with the love of an older brother, with the love of a shepherd who is guarding his flock from ravenous wolves. James was writing to his “beloved brethren.” The verses we just looked at, albeit stern and pointed, was not the writing of a cold schoolmaster. They were the words of a loving man who didn’t want his readers to fall prey to the same mistakes in judgment, the same misconceptions of truth, which caused him to deny Jesus earlier in his life.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, (1:17a)

Some commentators have tried to detach verses seventeen and eighteen from what we have studied so far. But James uses these verses to refocus his readers. He wants his readers to once again focus on the integrity of God and the fact that He is a giving God.

Instead of looking at these verses as separate from verses 13-16, we should look at them as contrasting verses 13-16. The first series of verses addresses the perception that God tempts people to do evil. Verses seventeen and eighteen speak of God’s incredible goodness and His redemptive work.

James begins by saying “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” James refutes the idea that God tempts people to sin. Why? The reason is that God is the source, is responsible, for every good thing given.

Some scholars have tried to make the “good thing given” and “every perfect gift” synonymous ideas. But there is a difference between the two. “Every good thing” refers to the act of giving gifts. On the other hand, “every perfect gift,” refers to the gift itself.

The tense in the first part of verse seventeen indicates that God continually gives good things. Those good things include all of His creation. He created the heavens and the earth for His good purposes.

Our good desires, those things that are consistent with His will, are also from Him. Every good thing finds its source with the Creator of all things. Since God is perfect, every one of His gifts is perfect. And the ultimate gift is His Son Jesus Christ, who came down to take the form of a man and remains continually in the hearts of every believer.

God’s giving, His perfect and undeserved gifts, are continually coming down from heaven. The wording here “views each gift as originated and designed in heaven and then as descending in an unending succession” (Hiebert, p. 100).

The God who is the Giver of every good thing is also the “Father of lights.” Although the apostles John and Paul make reference to God in connection with light, this is the only time in Scripture that we see this particular phrase used. It’s a wonderful expression of God’s creative power. The heavenly lights, the planets, the moons, the stars, the beautiful and mysterious combinations of gases and matter that form the nebulae, find their origin in the creative power of God. He is their Father. He is their source. He brought them into existence, not with a bang, but with a word.

. . . with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (1:17b).

James finishes verse seventeen by asserting the fact that God is unchanging. In Him “there is no variation or shifting shadow.” The lights that God has created are ever changing. The sun moves across the sky constantly changing in its hue, in its brightness, in its warmth and intensity. The shadows the sun causes to be cast change with its movement throughout the sky.

Like the other celestial bodies created by the hand of God, the sun moves throughout the universe, never staying in one place. The sun is constantly aging. Its power is diminishing. It will never be as bright as it once was. It’s light varies from day to day. And here in lies the difference between the Creator and every aspect of creation.

In God, there is no variation. There is never any change in who God is. His character, His very being, is unchanging. There can be no shifting of shadows with God because, as the apostle John said, “in Him there is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5b).

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, (1:18a)

In verse eighteen we see James make a subtle shift from the giving of gifts—God’s creative work, to the perfect gift—God’s redemptive work. James begins the verse by saying that it is through the exercise of God’s will that believers are brought forth by the word of truth. There are some huge implications in this short phrase that would take an entire sermon to explain thoroughly.

It is only by the will of God that believers are brought forth by the word of truth. “Brought us forth” is more literally translated as “gave us birth.” The same word is used here that was used in verse fifteen. This is the only time we see the term used when it doesn’t refer to the feminine act of a woman giving birth.

The birth James is writing about here is the second birth, the new birth, the spiritual birth of a believer who comes to faith in Jesus Christ. James wrote, “He (God) brought us forth.” The aorist or past tense is used here. James is looking back to the moment of conversion, the moment when a believer is born again, receiving eternal life through their faith in Christ alone.

That moment of time, that supreme moment of grace is birthed through only one source—the will of God. Only God can give birth to a regenerated, redeemed life. Sinful man cannot give birth to himself. It is not by man’s will that a person comes to faith in Christ. It is not by man’s choice that a person comes to faith in Christ. It is solely as a result of God exercising His sovereign will, bringing forth His perfect redemptive plan.

Not only does this make sense theologically, but also it is a logical conclusion. Think about it. Is a baby conceived as a result of it exercising its own will? Does a baby grow in its mother’s womb and is he or she born nine months later because the baby made the determination to do so? That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

If we wouldn’t force that kind of logic upon the natural birth of man, why do so many people insist on forcing that same logic on the spiritual rebirth of man? We come to faith in Christ not as a result of our own will, but by the will of God. We recognize our need for the Savior by the word of truth.

The word of truth is the gospel. Paul tells us in Romans 1:16 that the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (1:16b). God has brought forth His Word in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the teaching of the apostles, which has been handed down to us in the Scriptures, to show those whom God will bring to Himself by His effectual call and His irresistible grace, that there is but one way to eternal life—Jesus Christ.

. . . so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. (1:18b)

The last half of verse eighteen gives us an explanation for why God has chosen to redeem those who come to faith in Jesus Christ—“so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.”

James’ readers would have a clear understanding of what “first fruits” were. In Jewish culture, “the first fruits were the first and best of the crops that were harvested and were usually an indicator of what the rest of the crop would be like. A farmer would be inclined to take the early harvest and store it away in case the rest was lost to drought, locusts, or other calamities. But the Lord required that it was to be that first and best which was offered to Him” (MacArthur, p. 63).

Notice that James uses the word “we” to describe who the first fruits were. These words at the end of verse eighteen was specifically intended for that first generation of people who would read his letter. They were the first fruits of the Christian faith. They were the ones to first respond to the gospel message and would, in turn, plant the seeds of faith for future harvests all over the world.

Those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior are descendents of this first, very special crop. Although we may not be the first fruits, God continues to delight in His harvest. And as part of God’s present day harvest, we should go out and bear fruit. We should go out and plant seeds of faith in other fields—in our homes, in our community, and around the world.

In order to bear the kind of good fruit God intends for us to bear, we must be diligent to always recognize the source of our temptations. We will bear very little fruit if we look at temptation as an unfriendly act of God. We must remember that it is not temptation but “every good thing given and every perfect gift” that is from God. We will bear very little fruit and spend equally little time working the harvest, if we spend our time chasing the devil and blaming him for our sin.

In order to bear good fruit, in order to be the first fruits of our generation, we need to recognize that our own fallibility is the source of temptation that leads to sin in our lives. We need to take responsibility for our own actions and look to ourselves for the reasons we fall prey to the temptations we face in life. Let’s pray.