It wasn’t the Devil – Jan. 18, 2019

Who is the offender?

Those that grew up in the ’70s will remember a comedian called ‘Flip’ Wilson.  His real name was Clerow Wilson, but very few knew him as anything other than Flip.

He popularized several phrases that became part of the culture in the United States but the most enduring of them still is echoed today, “The Devil made me do it!”

The female character he portrayed in his skits was called Geraldine. And the phrase is attributed to her boyfriend who you never see called ‘Killer’. Though Killer was the source of the phrase, Geraldine and the rest of America adopted it for anything and everything that they might have done that was the least bit self-absorbed or naughty.

The bit propelled Flip to prominence as a comedian of the period and his catchphrase “The Devil made me do it” still is used frequently today.

It wasn’t the Devil

It is part of the nature of the flesh to blame someone else for all our problems and behavior. Before Flip Wilson ever popularized that phrase, children for years and years proclaimed, “I didn’t do it!” The entire use of this technique is intended to affix blame anywhere but on ourselves.

Somewhere back in our history mankind began to blame God for certain things. Things like war, famine, disasters, war, and suffering, all are popular to pin on God as the ‘responsible party’. He simply isn’t, and although the Devil is responsible for being the influence for a lot of things, he actually is the causation for very little.

We don’t want to minimize the Devils influence in the world and his desire to corrupt and deceive everyone. He has a vendetta against God and anyone who aligns themselves with God. The Devil has more power than we do, but not so much power as to be able to cause us to do anything we don’t choose to do of our own will.

No, when we do and say things that are ‘out of character’, that isn’t the devil at work, that is our carnal nature being allowed to fester in our lives. The devil simply didn’t make you do it!

No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (CSB)

God IS faithful! It is one of His many attributes, along with Love, Justice, consistency and many more.

The second half of this verse says, “he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.

If we fall into that temptation, which yes, may have been placed in our path by the Devil; the blame belongs with us and no one else.

What about the stuff God does?

It would be handy for me to pin this on Flip Wilson again, but ole Flip had nothing to do with us blaming God when things go badly.

You see, that started a short time after man and woman were created. You can see the daisy chain of blaming circling for a target in the first few chapters and then Adam lashes out and says…

The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:12 (CSB)

In this manner, Adam was doing his level best to pass blame from himself to anyone he could. He blames both God and ‘the woman’ that God had created for him.

So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:13 (CSB)

Eve, of course, puts the blame on the serpent. No one is accountable in humanity’s eyes, it is always someone else.

Because of mankind’s sin of rebellion against God, sin entered into the world, along with sin, corruption, and death entered into the world as well.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (CSB)

God is just. The law of God says that the consequence of sin is, in fact, death. Make no bones about it.

It wasn’t God inflicting all this pain in suffering into the world. It was the result of mankind’s original sin, which has perpetuated the pattern of disaster, decay, destruction, and death.

The Devil didn’t do it, God didn’t do it, it was and is on us and our lineage which started the ball rolling through the ages crushing and obliterating everything in its’ path.

It was because of this introduction of sin and death into the creation that Jesus came to pay the debt of sin and redeem us for His own.

Redemption

Redemption is perhaps not taken as literal as it really should be.

Consider the circumstance; God creates perfection, humanity introduces sin and death into the world through their willful act of disobedience. We perpetuate that disobedience through the generations that follow, perpetuating the sin and death. Then Jesus comes on the scene and pays our debt for this continuing sin, and ‘Redeems’ us for His own.

Common sense would tell you if someone has covered your debt that you, in turn, are in their debt; we, in fact, are bound to that individual.

If we acknowledge it, we are bound to Jesus for what He has done for us. We are indentured to him. Where we have death, he’s given us life. Where we have sin, he’s washed it clean with his blood. Where we have had excuses in the past, we find that we have no excuse, because we no longer have that debt, and temptation is nothing more than an opportunity to rebel, not an irresistible directive that forces us to do what we don’t wish to do.

Back to 1st Corinthians…

No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide a way out so that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (CSB)

We are “able to bear it”, because the Devil isn’t all powerful. God has placed limits on the amount of temptation that we are exposed to, and always provides a means for us to escape the temptations we face. And the most important reason why our failure to be obedient is our own fault is…

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (CSB)

It wasn’t the Devil. It wasn’t God. It all comes back to us, and our willingness to be obedient and resisting the nature that is in us, with the power God provides for us, “because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

In His Grace,
Kip…

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