The Devil made me do it


by Geir EngoyLittle Bobby defiantly resumed his seat after being told to do so by the person in authority. Through gritted teeth he mumbled: ‘But I am standing up on the inside!’

Many Christians live sub-par, even innocuous lives. Issues in our past keep us short of realizing our true potential. Self­condemning attitudes hold many of us back.

We often try to skirt sin by making excuses; “It’s just the way I am.” You don’t need to be Billy Graham to see this excuse as a reason for asking God to pick us up and work on us.

The next excuse we might try, is: “The woman gave me, and I ate.” Remember Adam in the garden of Eden? If we can shift responsibility onto somebody else, we’re off the hook, right? Even if the problem does not affect us directly, we are still supposed to be bearing each other’s burdens. If one part of the Body suffers, all parts suffer. If you go from the kitchen to the living room, the whole body moves there, not parts only!

Still unwilling to take personal responsibility, we may try “The devil made me do it.” Maybe, but only after we allowed him to! At some point we gave him access, allowed him to get a foothold in our lives. We face different challenges: Do you speak words of blessing or cursing? Does your attitude towards human sexuality glorify God? Do you treat people as gifts from God?

Think about this column’s title again. It is little more than a variation of kids’ (and adults’?) claiming that whatever went wrong was somebody else’s fault. But still, when you and I mess up, does the Devil make us do it?

Since Satan can not create anything, he needs something to hook onto. A thought works fine (2 Cor. 10:4-5). He will amplify, twist or embellish what we are thinking about. He does not necessarily give us the thought in the first place, in which case we could argue that he made us do it! Anything will do; doubts, putting others down, an attitude or a personality trait is fertile soil.

Satan doesn’t necessarily always lie, but he deceives us by telling half-truths, or by telling the truth at “the wrong time.” He also hinders or distracts us to blur our focus, occupy our time or keep us away from our task. When he tried this tactic with Paul (1 Thess.2:18) the apostle remembered his mission and kept on preaching and living out the Message.

What are we doing in our personal spiritual disciplines to better “see” the real battle going on for people’s souls? If we were able to “see” and acknowledge the invisible spiritual reality behind events in the physical world we would be counting on our helping angels and the Holy Spirit as more than a nice idea or confined to superstition.Frank Peretti’s books This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness are not canonical, but they help us understand the invisible part of reality. This dimension is an integral part in most non-Western worldviews.

Healing of wounds from past sins needs to take place on deep levels. Allow The Holy Spirit access to your life. Be thoroughly honest with yourself, seek out the help of a trusted Christian brother or sister, identify what is the sin you are carrying around, confess it to Jesus and watch how the demons will have nothing more to cling onto.

Instead of an excuse, use the principle above for the Holy Spirit to guide you and “make you do it.” Allow him to work with you on your thoughts, words and actions for God’s purposes to be accomplished.

We are making choices every day, and the direction of our lives depend on those choices. The devil does not make us do it; it is up to us to use our free will to decide who will empower positively or negatively who we are and what we do. When the enemy comes slithering through the grass, think about little Bobby and stand defiantly up on the inside! The enemy can only make you do it if you let him.

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