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The Devil Made Me Do It

The Devil Made Me Do It!

       Most of us have likely heard the title of this week’s article.   Some of us have heard it from folks when they were caught doing something wrong or evil and are looking for an excuse for their actions which will deflect the blame from them.   This is also likely the idea behind a skit which turned into a catch phrase for the comedian Clerow “Flip” Wilson.   He often performed skits depicting several different personas in which this catch phrase was employed. His most popular character was ‘Geraldine Jones’ who utilized the phrase liberally. Another was ‘Reverend Leroy’, the materialistic pastor of the "Church of What’s Happening Now”. Flip passed from this life in 1998, but this idea and the ‘church’ which Flip suggested seems to be very prevalent in our world today.
       To adhere to such an ‘excuse’ as our title suggest is absolutely a result of a lack of sound Bible teaching. When asked “why” we did something, or “what made one do such a thing”, the way of man seems to be to deflect the blame toward another.   This was the case with Adam in the Garden when God asked him if he had eaten of the forbidden fruit. In Gen. 3:12 Adam seems to blame God as he says: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  Oh, the lengths to which man will go to ‘lay the blame’ elsewhere. The ‘woman’ (Eve) came a little closer to saying “The Devil Made Me Do It!” as vs 13 shows:The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
     We need to consult the Word of God rather than to seek to claim the sin which we do is another’s fault. Jas. 1:13-16 indicates several things. 1) God is not the source of temptation. 2) Temptation comes from within the individual. 3) Temptation allowed to ‘run amok” results in sin. 4) Sin, not checked, and not repented of produces (spiritual) death. 5) It is within the individual’s power and ability to resist temptation and keep our thoughts under control. This makes it possible to ‘control’ our bodies and ‘make them’ do as we think.   This is how a sound Christian continues to ‘walk’ according to truth and not allow themselves to be enticed, bewitched, tricked, and deceived by Satan and his devices.
     We are reminded of this in 2Cor. 2:11 as the apostle Paul wrote as directed by the Holy Spirit.   The brethren there were being warned that we (Christians) can be ‘aware’ of Satan’s devices. What are these?   They are ‘all the tools’ and ‘tricks of the trade’ he uses to ensnare God’s people.  If we allow ourselves to remain ignorant of these, we give Satan the advantage. This is because the only power Satan (the devil) has over us is influence.   He exercises this over us in various ways. He cannot “MAKE US” do anything, but if he can “GET US” to do something contrary to God’s Word, he has us right where he wants us.
   We may wonder what methods he uses to influence.   In Eph. 2:2 he is called the “prince of the power of the air” which means his work is performed in this realm, the same in which we live.   In Job 2:2, before he was allowed to afflict the faithful servant, God asked Satan from whence he came.   His answer is very revealing. He said: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” He was quite busy seeking to turn people on earth away from God. It didn’t work in Job’s situation, and it needn’t be so with us.
     We also should know that he (Satan) does not do all the work himself. We are aware that Satan presented himself as a serpent in the garden. We are told in 2Cor. 11:14 he is “transformed into” (appears as) “an angel of light”. But He also has many followers and workers. Verse 15 reveals how many of his “imps” appear to others and what will become of them as well as those who follow them. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  This is no doubt why we were given the admonition of 1John 4:1. We are to “try the spirits” to assure they teach and preach only God’s Word. This is necessary “because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
     Need we be reminded of how subtle a change was made in God’s Command in the Garden? The serpent (the devil) only added one word (NOT) and diverted the mind of the woman from the ‘Word of God’ to the ‘lusts of her own mind’. Along with that came her desire to get Adam to ‘go along’ and join in. Sin was the result then and sin is the result now.   When ‘false teachers’ alter the Word of God and ‘pervert’ it, and preach and teach it to others, Gal. 1:6-9 tells us they are “accursed”. This is well defined in the Words of Christ in Matt 25:41 as He spoke of “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Any deviation from God’s Word is sin.   This is why it is so important to study it, meditate upon it, and live by it.   But how can we do this when so much effort is made to thwart us?   This is how Satan wants Christians to think.  
     Don’t despair, God has provided all we need so that we won’t be influenced by Satan, if we will access it and use it. In Jas. 4:7 Christians have divine assurance that if we “Resist the devil, . . . he will flee from you.” We can only do this as we submit ourselves to God.  In Eph 4:27 we have the admonition: not to “give place to the devil.”  This is how in 1Cor 9:27, Paul (and we) could keep under his (our) body and bring it into subjection. We do this per Eph.6:11 as we “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  
     The devil CANNOT MAKE US DO ANYTHING and everyone has the same means from God to resist. In 1Cor 10:13 we see that all temptations have been used before, but also that God has provided a “way to escape” all that the devil presents before us to trip us up. That ‘way’ is God’s Word. We also see from 1John 3:8 Christ was “manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Don’t allow the devil to influence you to your own destruction.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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