The Bible tells us that our enemy, the devil, is always on the hunt looking for someone to tempt. 1 Peter 5:8-9 warns us,
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
All believers around the world face the same kinds of trials and temptations. We all face temptations to be proud and self-glorifying, trials that make us want to give up trying, and tests that shake our faith and trust in God. I know the details vary, but it's still the same thing when we take a good look at it.
When such challenges come, many of us fail and make mistakes. Many of us commit sins that we later regret. Many of us find that we're not strong enough.
And so when we fail, one common comment or thought that comes out from the mouths of many Christians is:
"the devil made me do it"
So many of us blame the devil for our mistakes. We blame the circumstance, how the enemy set us up, and how he has pushed us to the corner and made us choose to commit sin.
But are we right in doing this? Should we always blame the devil? I think not.
Why we shouldn't blame the enemy for our mistakes
We find this kind of scenario very early in the Bible. In Genesis 3:8-13, we read God's conversation with Adam and Eve after the couple committed sin:
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"
"So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
"And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?" Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." And the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate.""
Friends, right from the very beginning, God has given free will to man: the power to choose whatever he wants to do. Man, however, chose to do what was wrong. But instead of claiming responsibility and repenting of sin right then and there, he chose to blame the devil.
I am not defending the devil, I am merely putting our perspectives in the right order. The enemy will always tempt us, but it's ultimately our choice whether to give in to temptation or not. The Bible tells us that we always have a way out:
"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Friends, it's time we stop blaming the enemy for our sins. It's time we admit our faults and our sins to God, for only when we acknowledge the fact that we sinned can we repent, and only when we repent can we ask for God's forgiveness.
Unless we stop blaming the enemy and start accepting the responsibility of making the right choices, we will always fall in to sin – choosing to do what is wrong, and then blaming the enemy for our own foolish decisions instead of taking the action we need to take to put things right and change ourselves.