The Devil Made Me Do It!

Eve first uttered the phrase “The Devil made me do it!” in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:13) and people have been using it ever since.

When we look at the first sin, we see how the Devil worked in the same way he works today.

First, he twisted what God said. “One day he asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?’” (3:1). God never said they could not eat from any of the trees in the garden but this question cast doubt in Eve’s mind.

Then he outright lied to her. “’You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil’” (3:4–5). The snare and its bait were set.

At this point, desires within Eve arose. “She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her,” (3:6). This was “a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions” (1 John 2:16). Eve was tempted to take the fruit and she gave in to it.

The Devil was blame-worthy for his deception. But he did not make her take the fruit. Adam and Eve gave in to their own desires and made a deliberate choice for which they and they alone were responsible.

In Matthew 4, he tried this same tactic with Jesus. The Devil tempted Jesus with physical pleasure (bread for His hunger), all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and achievements and possessions. It would have been an ostentatious display of power that was not in God’s will or His plan for mankind’s redemption. But Jesus, though He “faced all of the same testings we do” (Hebrews 4:15), resisted the Devil and used God’s Word to ensure victory over His tempter.

The same is still true today. The Devil deceives and lies to create doubts, which lead to questioning God and His Word. Satan entices us on the basis of those same desires—“a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.” It is as James writes, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15).

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods—they’re successful! He tempts us with the craving for physical pleasure, like sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “desires of your sinful nature” about which Paul warned the Galatians.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21)

We’re tempted with a craving for everything we see: the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes, and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

He tempts us with pride in our achievements and possessions such as the desire to be like God with power and control over our life, rather than submitting to and serving God.

The Devil and his demons cannot make us do anything involuntarily. So, rather than blame anyone or anything, we need to look at ourselves.

As noted above, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:14).

Why do we sin? We sin because we are sinners. We are plagued by and infected with sin (Romans 3:10–23).

While Satan’s influence is real, the primary problem is us, as evidenced in Galatians 5:19–21. Notice, it’s the “desires of your sinful nature,” not the works of the Devil, listed in this passage.

As Christians, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us overcome sin, “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4). We have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). If we sin, we have no excuse. We cannot blame the Devil or anyone else. We cannot blame our circumstances. We alone are responsible. And, until we recognize the problem resides within us we will never arrive at the solution.