The Devil Made Me Do It

The Devil Made Me Do It

Flip Wilson

We’ve been seeking to get to know our enemy.  Here’s a link to the first post in this series.  We’ve already looked at several names for our enemy.  One of the most popular, of course, is to call him The Devil.  Many years ago there was a popular comic who did skits on his variety show.  One of his repeating themes was to be accused of doing something wrong, and then saying, “The devil made me do it.”  The line always got laughs.  Today we’re going to see if we can say the devil made me do it about our actions and attitudes.

“The Devil Made Me Do It.”  Is that true?  Can you claim that the devil made me do it when you do something wrong?  As we continue to explore the nature of the enemy for preaching on the subject of Spiritual Warfare, we are going to do explore that claim in this post.  Remember that Satan means “Adversary”, and Devil means “Slanderer”.   I’m coming back to those names in this post so that we can explore some of the ways our enemy works.

The Devil

The enemy is called The Devil many times in the Bible.  I recently looked up how many on and found 35 references to the devil in the New Testament alone.  Admittedly, many of these are found in the Gospel accounts of the temptation of Jesus, and therefore many reflect one event that is recorded 4 times.  However, here are some of the other references.  They give an idea of the fact that the devil is living up to his name.

By the way, the name Satan means adversary, as we’ve seen in a previous post .  But the question is this:  Whose adversary is he?  Is he the adversary of God, or us you and me as followers of Christ?  What answer would you give?  Certainly with the temptation of Jesus, he was the adversary of the Son of God.  But what about other times.

Sowing Weeds–The Devil Did Make Me Do It

In the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13, the devil is mentioned this way:

…the enemy who sows them is the devil.  The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 

Here the devil is obviously the adversary of God.  Jesus creates a church, and the devil begins to sow weeds, and you can’t really tell one from the other until the judgment.  Think about all the problems that exist in the church with people not getting along, , or gossipy people, or people creating division.  The devil made me do it could describe some people, couldn’t it?

Interfering in Good News Sharing–The Devil Made Me Do It

Elymas struck blind

Another interesting passage is this one.  The first missionary journey was underway.  Paul was presenting the message, but Elymas the magician stood in the way.  Here’s what Paul said to him, as recorded in Acts 13:

Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”

Who was Elymas the adversary of?  Once again, the devil inspired Elymas to be an adversary of the expansion of the Kingdom.

Opening My Life to Evil: He didn’t Make Me Do This

In Ephesians 4, Paul is giving advice on living the spiritual life to the church in Ephesus.  Here is one of his directions:

26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

You may never have thought of it this way, but there are things we can do that have the power to mess up our lives, that give the devil a foothold, or a place from which to work.  Paul recognizes one of them here: letting anger grow to bitterness.

When I think of this, I think of marriages that corroded and exploded because of bitterness.  I think, too, of a couple in my first church.  Their daughter had gone through a divorce that turned bitter because of the actions of the young man in the marriage.  They hung onto their bitterness, and even though the divorce had happened many years before I came on the scene, I had to hear every detail.  And when the young man wanted to attend church again, these parents of the wounded daughter were apoplectic.  As the mother said, “I’ll watch him walk across the street to church and hope that a truck comes and smacks him.”

This bitterness defined their lives.

In this case, the adversary is your adversary when you hold onto anger, and maybe when you do pornography, or get engaged in an affair, etc.  These kinds of things open your life to the devil’s influence and presence, and he’ll use that to try to destroy you.  Be aware!  Be like a watchman on the wall.

We’ll continue this in the next post.