Today’s devotional: the devil made me do it!

Whose fault is it when we sin?

We’re all familiar with the old saying “the Devil made me do it!”, but I don’t think most of us would take that excuse very seriously if we heard it from somebody who’s done wrong. But it does raise interesting questions: what exactly is Satan’s relationship to sin? Are there situations in which the Devil actually could make us sin against our will?

Our Daily Bread tackles the question and lays out the Christian understanding of Satan and his role in tempting us to sin:

The devil tempts believers, but he doesn’t make us sin. James tells us that God isn’t to blame either: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13). He is good and holy.

So who is to blame for our sin? James says, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (v.14). Just as a fisherman uses bait to lure his prey, so our own evil, unchecked desires lead to giving in to temptation and sin.

When we disobey God by sinning, let’s not shift the blame or justify our actions with the faulty “the devil made me do it” theology.

Our sin is our own; the devil may tempt us toward sin, but we’re the ones who make the final decision to obey or disobey God. I’ve always found this Christian understanding to be simultaneously sobering and comforting: on the one hand, we can’t wiggle out of the responsibility for our sins by blaming the devil; but on the other, we can rest assured that the devil has no power to make us disobey God.

What do you think? Has anyone ever tried the “Satan made me do it!” line on you, and how did you react?

4 Responses to “Today’s devotional: the devil made me do it!”

  • Sean Scott says:

    Satan is called the “father of lies” because that is his only weapon, he plants lies into us and the world. That’s plenty for him, as tragically Satan is very successful at getting many, many, many people to fall into eternal damnation.

    Each of us makes decisions all the day long. Not all of them have eternal consequences for us in our next lives, but God has given us His Word through the Bible that plainly tells us how He expects us to make the decisions that matter to Him. As part of the sanctification process after we are saved, the Holy Spirit takes residence inside of us and tells us internally what God wants for us to do. However, all Satan needs to do is plant little lies, twist the truth, or confuse us just enough that we make bad decisions.

    Fortunately through God’s grace we are forgiven when we stray if we simply ask for forgiveness and repent. That is God’s power over Satan — those who accept Him are forgiven and saved from Satan.

  • zelalem says:

    yes,I understand today as how far I was from this truth. Blaming Satan for my sin will never be my gaurantee. And from being today I am responsible for my all faults. because Satan has no any power upon me. Thank you.

  • Steve Richmond says:

    Satan is the master of evil. He will rip and shred at every angle of your life because of his hatred for our Lord Jesus Christ. The only way Satan can hurt our Lord, is by stealing our souls from Gods Grace. I am a sinner, I will always be a sinner in this world, but my Lord and Master,Jesus,saved me with his blood and loveing grace. Heaven for me will be the day that I am free from Satans uglyness forever.

  • Lynn Baber says:

    I had to check this out when I saw your blog title on Bible Gateway. There was no way my post on the same subject would be featured here… so I checked the dates. My post was written August 11th. The reason I am commenting is because I believe this is additional proof that the Holy Spirit is working in the world and drawing believers back to the ‘family compound.’ Is it simple coincidence that we should both write on the same phrase? I don’t think so.