“ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.””– Job 1:6-11.
More than thirty years ago Flip Wilson kept America in stitches with his television characters “Reverend Leroy,” the friendly, pompous pastor of the “Church of What’s Happening Now,” and “Geraldine Jones,” the sassy woman in a miniskirt. Whenever Geraldine would do anything wrong she would excuse her actions by uttering the line she made famous, “The devil made me do it!”
America laughed and “The devil made me do it,” became the rage all over the country. Of course, we all know that the devil wants us to sin, and it is convenient to have someone to blame it on. If we are honest, we have to admit that we have been blaming others for our actions and sins going all the way back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Adam blamed his wife, but then confessed, “I ate.” Eve blamed the serpent, but then confessed, “I ate.” It’s always easier to point the finger at someone or something else when we sin. But, blaming someone else does not wash the sin away. The devil wants us to do something that will weaken our walk and relationship with God.
But in reality, the devil doesn’t make us do anything. We make the choices. We choose to go the opposite direction and we love to shift the blame on others, including the devil, to escape having to take responsibility for our own actions.
On the moment of temptation, Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes: “At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…The lust thus aroused envelops the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.”
So what shall we do? Romans 13:10 states it this way: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” The term “make no provision for the flesh” is our goal. Make no provision is to immediately show the enemy the door. It is saying you are not welcome; you are not staying; in fact, you are leaving now; and don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Whether it is receiving or giving gossip about someone you know, or a second longer look at the opposite sex; lowering your ethical standards to finalize a deal; reacting in anger with your children; a sarcastic remark supposedly made in jest; listening or viewing something on your computer that is not uplifting. The list is endless. Whatever it is, whenever it is, if it does not glorify God, then show it the door of your eyes, mind or heart. This way, the devil will not get a foothold or start you down a path you don’t want to go.
So the next time something comes your way that is going to harm your relationship with God, remember to show it the door immediately as though you had just found a poisonous snake inside your house. Do not let it get comfortable or take root.
- What have your thoughts about the devil been? How does the Bible’s description of him differ with your assumptions? Ultimately, which is right?
- What is the difference between sin and temptation?
- The enemy will tempt you when you can be effective for God. The enemy will tempt you when you are vulnerable. The enemy will tempt you in a way that’s customized to you. In what ways has the devil tempted you?
- Read Romans 8:37–39. The passage says that nothing will be able to separate you from God’s love? Why is that mentioned in this passage?
- How can you start opposing Satan this week?