Last weekend I was up in Cades Cove with my sisters continuing the great bear hunt (See my article Hunting for Bear). No luck again on bear, but I was struck by the multitude of fallen trees on both sides of the road. The question came to me, were those trees fallen, or had they been felled?
What’s the difference? According to the dictionary a “fallen” tree is one that has “descended freely by the force of gravity.” On the other hand, a “felled” tree has been cut down—acted upon by something outside of itself.
I wonder how often we tell ourselves when we fall into sin that we have been felled—that something or someone outside of ourselves is responsible for us succumbing to the temptation? We don’t need to assume full responsibility because “the devil [or our neighbor, spouse, coworker, child…] made us do it”? Does that sound familiar?
Unfortunately, the Bible does not give us that out. No, James 1:14 asserts, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” And it gets even worse, because we read in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “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.”
So, no excuses, my friend. Don’t blame someone or something else for “felling” you. Admit that you have sinned. Confess your sin to the Lord, and we have His promise that “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
Is that your prayer today?