Teachers hear all kinds of excuses. Like this one -

"You cannot hold me responsible for knowing the material on this test, as I was sleeping during all of your lectures. As you did not wake me up, I assumed that you sympathized with my tiredness and were excusing me from the information being covered. Not needing to know the information, I assumed that I would not have to take a test on it. You might have made some kind of mistake in handing me this test, since I don't have to take it, so I am just writing this to remind you."

This might make you laugh, but don't be too ready to ridicule. Many of us use this same kind of reasoning with God all the time. We reason that if He really did not want us to do a particular thing, He'd do something to stop us. He wouldn't let us cheat or steal or lie. He'd stop us before we got the chance to act on the thoughts He knows we entertain every day. But God doesn't work that way. He is not responsible for our actions, any more than that professor was responsible for keeping his student awake in class. And just like that teacher, God will let us do what we set our minds on and then suffer the consequences. He does not do this maliciously, but in love, hoping that we will turn to Him.

The Apostle Paul states this bluntly in Romans 1:28 ? "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done."

God will not stop us from going our own way, but neither will he abandon us when we choose to resist the temptations that come upon us. There is always a way to resist. "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 stand up under it." (1Cor. 10:13)

We can't blame God for our weaknesses. We can't blame him for the mistakes we've made. But we can expect Him to be there when we try to overcome them. He has promised to never leave us and His strength is available to us every moment of our lives.

We ought to know that, because He told us so. We ought to remember it when those moments of temptation come. But we are prone to failure.

Again, God's promise gives us a way out ? "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." All we have to do is stop making excuses, stop blaming God, and admit our wrongdoing. Then we can start again with a clean slate and God's spirit to guide us.

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com
Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004