Did The Devil Make Me Do It?
Eve blamed the devil for her transgression.
Paul blamed the devil for the ignorance of sinners (2nd Corinthians 4:3-4).
The Apostle John blamed the devil (at least in part) for the actions of Judas Iscariot (John 13:27).
And ultimately, the devil is to be blamed for the failure of the nations of the world. Read it for yourself, "How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" - Isaiah 14:12.
Presumably, no devil would mean no sin, no death, no curse, and no hell.
So can you and I blame the devil for our failures?
Perhaps the best thing to do is to evaluate how some of the biblical characters who were controlled by devils faired in judgment.
(By the way, here are a few synonyms for the term devils: demons, foul spirits, and unclean spirits. In any case, they are all fallen angels. They are spiritual beings loyal to Satan).
King Saul was plagued by demons (1st Samuel 16:14-16). But he earned that curse. He rejected the leadership and authority of the Holy Spirit. So, his demise was his own doing. Even if he was empowered, invigorated, motivated, dominated, and tormented by an evil spirit, he was still responsible for his own actions. And, it was with his own life that he paid for his failures.
Certainly the coming Antichrist will get his power and authority from Satan. Yet he will be cast into the lake of fire 1,000 years before Satan is relegated to that same end. Satan will bear his own punishment, but any who cooperate with him will certainly not escape from judgment unscathed.
You know, Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to get to him so he could sift him like wheat. He wanted to tempt Peter; to use and abuse him. Ultimately, Satan wanted to destroy Peter's faith and ministry. Read the account for yourself: "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.'" (Luke 22:31-32)
It is incredibly interesting that Jesus did not pray for Peter to escape from the attack itself. He prayed that Peter's faith would not fail in the face of the attack. He prayed for Peter's return; for his conversion. By the way, Peter was used by Satan in other circumstances too.
Peter to Jesus: "Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man."
Jesus to Peter: "Get thee behind me Satan."
Peter to the other disciples: "I'm going back to the boats to fish again."
But on this occasion, things got rather deep. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. One interpreter claims that Peter said, "May my soul be damned if I know that man."
Whoah. That's heavy.
And, Jesus did hold Peter accountable. At least, I believe He did. The conversation around the fish-for-breakfast-on-the-seashore (after the resurrection of Christ) certainly sounds like rebuke and restoration (John 21).
"Peter, do you love me?"
"Peter, do you love me?"
"Peter, do you love me?"
"Feed my sheep."
Jesus did not say, "Hey Pete, I know you did some awful stuff recently. But you couldn't help it. Don't worry about it. The devil made you do it."
In a way, the devil did make him do it. Still, Peter was a fallen man with a sinful nature. His cursed flesh complied with Satan's suggestions. So, guilty.
That's all it takes, really. It might make sense that we fall. It may be defensible in human terms. Of course we are no match for a 7000+ year old former archangel. Naturally his wily ways are difficult to discern or defend against. But from God's perspective, there are only 2 teams in this game. And, if you aren't on His team, you're on the opposing team. "Anyone who is not gathering with Me, is scattering abroad." (see Matthew 12:30). His words; not mine.
So yes, if we listen to the devil, then there are innumerable errors that he can lead us into. But, we are not ignorant of His devices (2nd Corinthians 2:11).
He quotes Scripture... out of context.
He transforms himself into an angel of light.
He impersonates good spirits.
He fills the mouths of false prophets.
He tempts us with immediate gratification.
He accuses God of deception and our brethren of evil plots against us.
He divides us, confuses us, deceives us, and weaken's our resolve.
He steals, kills, and destroys.
He enfeebles our faith and makes our witness impotent.
He casts doubt and asks endless questions.
He impresses, oppresses, depresses, and possesses.
He is the spirit of darkness. He is the god of this world. He is the prince of the air. He is the foe of the righteous. He is the father of lies.
He pushes a sensual agenda. He interrupts our worship, instigates fights in our families, defeats our fellowship, pollutes our service, and distracts us from our mission.
So what are we to do? Well, it's simpler than you might think. It may not be easy, but it is simple.
Resist the devil and he will run from you. Move closer to God, and rests the devil. Otherwise, he will win. He will have his way and he will indeed make you and me do things that we will regret. He will drag us down rabbit holes of iniquity that will swallow us whole. We will lose our strength to stand. A strength that is both commanded and imputed.
Greater is He that is in you than he that in in the world.
So, yes and no. Often, the devil did make you do it. But you didn't have to let him. Not if you have the Spirit living within you. You could have had victory. I could have had victory. We can always win.
It takes humility.
It takes faith.
It will take the armor of God, but we CAN defeat every foe. We can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Don't let this discourage you concerning past failures. Let it inspire you concerning future temptations. It is inevitable that offenses will occur (see Matthew 18:7), but woe to anyone who contributes to those offenses.
Jesus has defeated death, hell, and the grave. He has gone through the hour of the power of darkness and has returned victorious. We should never succumb to the hissing whispers of His pitiful archenemy and nemesis. Those terms are too noble for the devil anyway. He is the snake in the garden, now writhing under the heel of the virgin born Son of God. Don't give him a place (Ephesians 4:27). Don't give him any space. Don't let him make you do anything, ever.