The Devil Made Me Do It
Wednesday - December 30th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 1:12-18
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me."
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;
but each person is tempted when they are dragged away
by their own evil desire and enticed.
When I was a kid in the early 1970s, I enjoyed the variety shows on TV. Maybe they fit my limited attention span as a boy. Shows like Sonny & Cher, the Carol Burnett Show, and the Mac Davis Show would intertwine short, funny sketches and musical selections. One of my favorite variety shows at a young age was the Flip Wilson Show.
Wilson had one of the first and very few variety shows hosted by a black person. His different voices and characters caught my attention. I can still recall those moments while telling a story that Wilson quickly transitioned into the overexaggerated characters of Reverend Leroy or Geraldine.
One of the more famous comedy routines Flip Wilson used as a standup comic was called "The Devil Made Me Do It." The title of the hilarious performance became a catchphrase completely associated with Wilson. His Geraldine character repeatedly used this flippant phrase with a heavy dose of self-righteousness. How could Geraldine be blamed for her actions when the Devil had forced her into her bad behavior?
While humorous, Wilson captured some of the hypocrisy often found among those who considered themselves "good church people." They condemn others for their bad behavior but blame their own sins on the Devil. They take no responsibility for their own actions while condemning others for theirs.
Since the Garden of Eden, human beings have tried to deflect the responsibility and guilt of their actions by blaming others. In the first chapter of the New Testament Book of James, we see how some people try to blame God for the temptation to sin and succumbing to it. We are warned in verse thirteen, not to say, "God is tempting me." The end of the same verse makes it clear why we cannot blame God for temptation, "For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone." So, it is futile to blame God for the temptation or our succumbing to it.
If God is not to blame for how easily and quickly we fall to temptation, perhaps Flip Wilson was on to something. Maybe the "Devil made me do it." Verse fourteen of James chapter one brings clarity to just who it is that is responsible for my waywardness. "Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."
While the Bible identifies the world, the flesh, and the Devil as our three enemies as we seek to live and love like Jesus, it clarifies we are responsible for and will be held accountable for our sins. The blame game human beings like to play will not work with God.
Who do you blame for your sin and waywardness? Do you blame God, the Devil, others?
We need to take responsibility for our actions. We need to understand that our own evil desires drag us away from the path of righteousness to which God has called us. The great news is that God's grace is not just amazing in saving us but also in keeping us in God's family. As we confess our sins, God promises that He will be faithful in His grace to forgive us of all of our wayward unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
The Devil did not make you sin. No one else is responsible for your bad behavior. Your own fleshly desires dragged you away from God's perfect path for your life.
Stop blaming others for your sin. Stop and confess it to God. Let His grace bathe you again, and make you clean!