Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Devil made me do it

Devil made me do it

Often you hear or read people say: “the devil made me do it.” This is not a new excuse. It is as old as man himself. It was the same reason that Eve gave in the Garden of Eden when she disobeyed God. 
“And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13) 
When you catch a thief, the usual plea is “the devil deceived me.” Catch a house boy/housemaid doing what is wrong the usual plea is “The devil made me do it” Perhaps you have yourself made this plea. What makes people so easily fall prey to the devil? Is the devil so powerful that people cannot resist him? Or are people so helpless that they cannot but succumb to the devil? Who or what is this devil that is causing this trouble everywhere? Why is he able to do this thing here in Nigeria and in all countries of the world? Does the Devil really exist or is he just a universal excuse?

Does the devil really exist? 

We interviewed a number of people and got a variety of answers. We are not going to give you all the details of the interview, but the first that is evident is doubt. Many doubt the existence of the devil. Quite a number are not sure. The doubt that the world exercises on the existence of the devil is shown in:
  • The representations of the devil in films and cartoons. Take the Walt Disney Cartoon Concept for example. Most of the pictures take the devil as a medieval and mythical two-horned folk tailed, impish creature dressed in red flannel under wear, black and busily pitching coal into the furnaces of hell. 
  • In our liberal Churches. In some of our liberal Churches today, the existence of the devil is denied from the pulpit. These liberal Churches begin by denying Christ and then they go on to throw out such “outdated” concepts as the old devil and the new birth. They rather would leave out the “D” in devil and add an “O” to God. They simply preach “evil and good” and tell you to forget about Devil and God. 
  • In our conservative Churches. In the conservative Churches, there is no mention of the devil from their pulpits. I asked a number of people whether a sermon has ever been preached on the devil or his activities. They thought I was weird. Someone said to me: “such a thing should not be preached upon in the Church.” But how else can the members of such Churches be aware of the devil and his activities. 

I once read an article titled “If I were the devil” by Dr. H. L. Wilmington. The point that the author stressed: 
“The first thing I would do, would be – to deny my own existence. I would tell everybody that the Bible informs them that God desires, perhaps above all else, to be believed in. In this, people will concentrate their attention in God or other things else and allow the devil operate unnoticed and unattacked”.
The Bible enjoins us to have faith in God. “But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6). But this is not so with the devil. Let me quote a bit more from the article: 
“Suppose there is a Bible believing Church which is going through a spiritual crisis. For some months no soul has walked its aisles. The attendance and offerings are down and the members are becoming restless and fewer. Finally, in desperation, a special committee is appointed by the congregation to discover the source of this coldness and lifelessness in the Church. After considerable prayer and probing, the Committee submits its report. What are its findings? I believe it may be safely assumed that the average committee would lay the blame on one or more of the following (1) The Pastor (2) Certain Officials (3) A cold congregation or (4) A difficult neighbourhood. But what fact–finding group would return the following indictment? “We believe the main source of our heartaches for the past few months is Satanic. We believe the reason no souls have been saved recently is due to an all out attack on our Church by the devil! We close our report with a strong recommendation that the congregation call a special meeting, rebuke Satan, plead the blood of Jesus Christ and claim the victory.” If I were the devil, I would deny my existence in the world and downplay it in the local Church, thus freeing me to go about my business unheeded, unhindered and unchecked!” (The Baptist Bulletin, December 1971, page 13) 

Does the devil exist? The world is not sure he does. The liberal Churches choose to block him out of their programmes; whether or not he exists. It does not matter. It is better to think of good and evil. The conservative Churches do not want him mentioned at all. The devil enjoys being neglected or forgotten. Such situations favor his mischievous activities and is perhaps why so many have fallen prey to his devices.

The Bible declares that the devil exists. The devil is mentioned in Seven Old Testament Books, He is found in Nineteen New Testament Books and referred to by every New Testament writer. He is mentioned by our Lord Jesus Christ some fifteen times and at some of the times addressed him directly: “Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:10-11)

The Bible affirmatively asserts that the devil exists. But some questions itch for answers: Who is the devil? Why did God create the devil in the first place and why doesn’t God destroy him? If God did not create the devil, who did? How did he come to be? When God finished His creation, the Bible records read: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31) Was the devil one of the things that God saw were very good?

We would be answering some of these questions in the following weeks but to the above question, The answer is No! God did not create the devil!. God created a beautiful cherub endowed with all that would make him praise and worship God in His Holiness; but pride entered into the angel because of his beauty and he organised the greatest coup d’état in all history to overthrow and usurp the powers of God. Of course, God is in perfect control. The devil failed and has since then been deceiving angels and human beings to fall with him and share in his fate which God has reserved for him in the end. There are two important passages in the Word of God concerning the origin and fall of the devil: The first is related by Prophet Ezekiel in his book. In the second half of Chapter 28, the Prophet describes for us, the origin and judgment of a non-human devil (Ezekiel 28:11-19). The second account is by Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 14: 9-15).

In the next few weeks, my aim is to expose the devil sufficiently that you will recognize him when next he comes to attack you. It is also important for you to know how powerful you are in Christ so that you need not cow down again when the devil barks. 

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