One of the most popular comedians of the sixties and seventies was Flip Wilson. He created numerous and outrageously funny and memorable characters. Yet he is probably best remembered for his frequent punch line, “The devil made me do it!”
This line was quite prevalent in pop culture and served as a convenient pretext to excuse any bad behavior. It wasn’t my fault, the devil made me do it! It seems this blame shifting to explain one’s bad behavior has been going on for a long time.
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
Romans 7:18-20 (NLT)
At first reading, it appears that the Apostle Paul is echoing the same sentiment of Flip Wilson. However in the next verses, he clarifies his point.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
Romans 7:21-24 (NLT)
All Christian believers are in a continual spiritual battle. The Holy Spirit indwells all believers who have confessed and repented of their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. However, their old nature is still present and this is our sinful nature with which we are all born. We are susceptible to the devil’s wiles and cunning strategies, but he is powerless to force us to do anything. It is our old nature that leads us astray. The devil doesn’t make us do it. We do.
How desperately we need the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ!
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.