“The DEVIL made me do it!” was an oft-heard expression coined by comedian Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine. If you’re much younger than I am you may not remember the The Flip Wilson Show, a popular, television comedy of the early 1970s. But I can still see “Geraldine” toss her hair with her hands on her hips while she blames Satan for her outrageous behavior. Throughout the decade and even beyond, people jokingly used the phrase when they were a “little bit bad.” The slogan was even printed on t-shirts.
Ironically, while on the surface “the devil made me do it” was intended as a casual joke, in reality it reflects our human nature. We don’t like to accept responsibility for our actions. We often look for someone else to blame. And this pass-the-buck attitude isn’t new. It started in the garden with Adam and Eve.
Unfortunately this attitude is prevalent among Christians. God calls us to live holy and obedient lives. Yet sometimes we still yield to temptation and sin. To make it worse, we don’t like to take the blame. Instead of agreeing with God that we sinned against Him, repenting, and receiving His forgiveness, we point the finger at another person, or Satan, and say, “It’s not my fault, it’s his.” “The devil made me do it.
I’m not saying that Satan doesn’t tempt us. He does. Scripture tells us that Satan even tempted Jesus. Satan tempts us, but he cannot make us sin. We give Satan way too much credit. And we don’t give God enough. Yes, God demands holiness and obedience from His children. But, as always, when God requires something of us He also supplies the resources.
Following are three biblical truths that can help us in our battle with sin and temptation. I hope these truths will help you as you seek to please God by living a holy life.
Biblical Truth: We never have to sin. God has given us the power and opportunity to choose obedience.
Romans 6:6, 11 – For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. 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.
Biblical Truth: Jesus understands you. He knows what it is like to be tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Biblical Truth: God has given us strategies to strengthen ourselves against temptation.
Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Sometimes I struggle to standing firm in the face of temptation. Do you? But, I am working to not only remember these truths from God’s Word but to also apply them to my life. Will you commit to stop pointing fingers and stand firm on the promises of God?