Giving Satan Too Much Credit

“The Devil made me do it.” – Flip Wilson, comedian.

Shifting blame has been a human trait from the very beginning. Eve wasted no time in blaming the serpent for her sin, and Adam was just as quick in blaming Eve for his own transgression. While the father of all lies was guilty of tempting Eve, we cannot and should not overlook their own culpability in the matter. Instead of owning up to what they had done, our first couple set the standard for blame shifting by making the devil the only true evil one in the garden.

As long as we can blame the devil, we can absolve ourselves of any responsibility for our actions and inactions. Thus, we seek release from guilt in order to justify our behavior. Moral relativism at its finest.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

Like it or not, the final source is our own sinful nature or the lusts of self-centered desires of our own hearts (James 1:14-15). However, it is equally true that the prince of this world has been given power (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12) and we are constantly faced with this power and activity of Satan in many different ways. Yet, we know the victory has already been won (1 John 4:4).

More often than not, it is worth noting that the Scriptures place more of an emphasis on our own responsibility to grow in Christ rather than demonic activity. Certainly, the devil is absolutely worthy of blame for much of the evil in the world, but using the devil as a scapegoat for our own sinful choices keeps us from the necessary accountability to overcome further sin. Without this accountability, repentance cannot occur. Remember, nowhere in Scripture does it reference Satan as being omnipresent or omniscient, or any of the other attributes of God.

James 1:14 declares, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” As long as we live in these fleshly bodies, will remain infected with sin (Romans 3:10-23). While demonic oppression and influence are real, the primary problem is our own sinful natures. Notice where I have added emphasis in Galatians 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” Paul is clearly attributing the sins listed to us, not the devil.

Yes, Satan is good at tempting us with his grip on this world. Regardless of your particular weakness, it is likely readily available. However, as with all of the individuals throughout the Bible, we face choices in life and we are responsible for those choices. Freewill does not excuse accountability. It did not work for them and it will not work for us.

Satan can dangle a carrot in front of your face, but there is something inside you that actually wants that carrot. You aren’t lustful because some demon comes on you. You are lustful because you have within you a desire for what isn’t right. The devil can appeal to that lust, but he did not create it. It’s already in us.

The devil did not make you do it.