But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. James 1:14
The story is told of a mother who had just replenished the cookie jar. When she left the house, she instructed her young son not to at any cookies. After she returned, she asked the boy if he had obeyed, and he confessed to have eaten a cookie. “Why did you do that?” asked his mother. “Well,” he replied, “first I looked at the cookie, then I smelled it, and then it slipped right into my mouth!”
That’s a humorous story but really illustrates well, how temptation leads to sin. Was the cookie the source of wrong, or was it something else? Obviously, the fault didn’t belong to the cookie. It was just sitting there doing what fresh cookies are supposed to do…looking and smelling wonderful! The fault was the boys’ who gave into the temptation (the desire for the forbidden). When the devil tempts us to do wrong, we need to make a choice between good and evil. The temptation cannot harm us unless we give in to the desire of the flesh and choose to do wrong. We can never say, “The devil made me do it.” Verse 15 of James 1 goes on to say, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Often times, the reason we fail to overcome is because we spend too much time looking at the “cookie” and thinking of the immediate pleasure or benefits. God warns us that it is urgent to flee the temptation. We read in Genesis 39 that Joseph fled when Potiphar’s wife tempted him. If Joseph had looked at the “cookie” very long, he may very well have fallen. Whatever temptation we may face, we must flee instead of letting a wrong desire conceive and give birth to sin. We are personally responsible for how we control (or fail to control) the desires within us.