4 minute read

3 Reasons the Devil Didn’t Make You Do It

Last Updated: September 25, 2017

Sherry Allchin

Sherry Allchin has been in some form of ministry for nearly fifty years, first as the wife of a youth pastor, then as a mother of three and a Christian school teacher. She now lives in Charleston, SC working at the Low Country Biblical Counseling Center. She completed her M.A. in Biblical Counseling and has been counseling individuals and families for over twenty years. Their adult children and seven grandchildren serve the Lord across the country. Sherry is a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Her passion is helping others to grow in their faith and to make life count for eternity!

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors.” Rom. 8:37

“The Devil made me do it!” We’ve all heard it, but why do I do what I do? Isn’t that the question of all ages, “Why did I do that?” Sometimes we can’t even answer that question!

So if the devil doesn’t make us do what we do, then who or what does?

the devil didn't make you do it

Our own hearts deceive us.

Our own hearts deceive us, and soon we “believe” right is wrong and wrong is right! Sin doesn’t come from outside us, but from within (Matt. 15:17-19). So we convince ourselves that what we want is really ok, or that we are victims and can’t help our choices. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked, so much so that we deceive even ourselves about the desires and intents of the heart, often justifying our wrongs.

We are sinners by nature; we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Even the Apostle Paul proclaimed himself the chief of sinners because he understood the deceitfulness of his own heart. We like our sin and don’t want to give it up.

But our culture doesn’t want to hear that. We are told instead that we are “good” and that when we follow our heart it is the right thing for us. We spend thousands of dollars on therapists to make us feel better, yet we don’t. This is a pretty bleak picture so far, but where is the hope?

Our hope is in Christ alone who changes hearts and sets us free from the curse of sin and death (Rom. 6:23, Jn. 10:10). Our hope is in the Word of God that guides us to a better way to live. Psalm 119 is one of my favorites because it describes the wonders of the Word, how it keeps us from sin and brings life and sweetness to our souls. It lights our path and guides our way out of the path of destruction. It gives hope and joy in the Lord.

We choose our own actions.

Not the devil, nor anyone for that matter, can make us do anything we don’t choose to do. Too often we blindly follow culture and others instead of following the Lord!

When Moses was given the Ten Commandments, right in the middle, the Lord gave him a principle that we need to understand, even in our day. Exodus 20:5 proclaims the generational curse: the sins of the fathers pass to the 3rd and 4th generations to those who hate God.

Look around and see that principle in action. Alcoholic fathers often produce alcoholic sons. Fathers who view pornography often pass the effects of that sin along to their children. Just think about your own family tree. What patterns do you see flowing from generation to generation?

So is there hope for someone addicted to anything?

Deut 7:9  proclaims the hope: know and love God enough to obey His Word! The hope is through change. We can all change if we will to change (Rom. 12:1-2, Eph. 4:17-24). The generational curse breaks when we love and obey the Lord and develop a lifestyle that reflects Christ likeness. That means purity in thoughts, words, and deeds. His Word promises to change our cold, hard hearts of stone into hearts alive in Christ.

Ezekiel 18 holds a profound principle of individual responsibility. That chapter begins with the admonishment to quit using a certain proverb that we still happen to use today. Although our wording is different–“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” or “A chip off the old block” or “Like mother, like daughter!”–it means the same thing as the proverb God told Israel to quit using. These sayings leave a kid hopeless of ever being different.

Throughout Ezekiel, God goes on to proclaim that a son can choose right even if his father chooses wrong, or visa-versa. Only the one doing wrong is judged for his wrong. The other has chosen to do what is right, regardless of circumstances or influence, and will experience God’s help.

The devil has no power over the children of God that we do not relinquish to him. God’s own children have a greater power to overcome sin than the devil has power to tempt (1 Jn. 4:4). We can never blame the devil for our sin, nor blame the Lord for not rescuing us from that temptation (Col. 1:13, 1 Cor. 10:13-14). We are responsible to obey and flee (1 Jn. 2:13-14). God’s Word is clear that we can overcome sin, even addictions to substances or pornography!

We take community and accountability too lightly.

We need community, and God provides it. He set us in families and local church communities for a very important reason–we function best and accomplish more with accountability. Positive peer pressure helps us do the right thing. Yes, some choose to follow negative influences, but God designed faith communities to establish godly influences that help one another. Solomon said that two are better than one because the one helps the other up.

Paul admonished the Galatians to help one another when they saw a brother struggling (Gal. 6:1-5). We are to help bear one another’s burdens. When our brother heals enough to carry his own load, he’ll in turn be able to help the next guy who falls. We will all struggle at times and need a community to help us.

We often take accountability too lightly. Some accountability partners fear asking the tough questions to one another, but God has given us that powerful tool to help us change and grow. When we have a community of godly friends who hold us (and themselves) accountable to God, victory over past struggles can more readily become a reality. When we confess and forsake sin, we find God’s mercy (Prov. 28:13, 1 Jn. 1:5-9). Victory first comes in community with God and then with others!

The Power to Overcome Temptation

Knowing and loving Christ and obeying His Word gives us the strength and direction we need to have victory in conquering temptations of the heart.

  • “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!” (Php. 4:13).
  • “In Christ we are more than conquerors!” (Rom. 8:37).
  • “We are dead to our sin and alive in Christ” (Rom. 6:11).
  • “How shall a young man keep his way pure? By obeying the Word of God!” (Ps. 119:9-11).

We can choose to follow Him in thoughts, words, and deeds, recognizing our source of strength and path to victory! The devil is no match to the power of our LORD!

Related Covenant Eyes articles: 

  • Comments on: 3 Reasons the Devil Didn’t Make You Do It
    1. Steve on

      Sherry, thanks for the good reminders! Since you are a counselor I know you like to have feedback. You keep saying “we” and you probably mean all of us as Christians. Do you mean “we” as in you are a former addict?

      I wish I could have said I love God enough to stop abusing alcohol and using porn but I could not or did not. It was not enough. What I saw was I was out of control with the porn. I would have given away anything to keep using. What triggered my relapse was a dying mother who was wasting away in a nursing home. I don’t use that as an excuse; I still chose to use.So being careful during times of high stress is a must for me.

      Secondly, accountability is getting tougher and tougher. Christian men using porn is epidemic. Some who have gotten victory don’t want others to know they were even involved let alone help others. I have been open about my porn battles for many years with adult Sunday School groups yet few talk about it or talk to me.

      Third, Christian support groups have not worked for me because there is still a condemning attitude of I am not as bad as you. I found more love and acceptance in a secular 12 step for sex addiction then I ever did in Christian support groups. I went to at least 6 or 7 different groups over many years. These are some of the obstacles porn addicts face–women even more than men because it is still more of a stigma for women.

      I had to break the cycle of masturbation. That was the key for me. Porn free was not enough.I have recent sobriety of 9 years but I can never, never, never go back. I loved the secular 12 step because no one looked down on the other. We all talked much more openly about our daily issues in the secular group than we did in the Christian group. This is sad and I really don’t know how to change it.

      I am open to ideas. I attend a large church and I have approached Sunday School pastors who wanted to talk about porn in their class rather then have me do it. I talked to Sunday School leader who said they would get back to me twice but never did. I don’t want to force myself on anybody. I feel I am led by The Spirit to ask but I won’t push.

      I was in counseling for over twenty years for anger, depression (family history),porn and alcohol addiction. Sober with alcohol for over 35 years. I just would like to give some short testimonies about my victories daily with Jesus but the doors are not opening.

      Keep up the good work! Steve

      Reply
      • Anthony on

        Steve, any thoughts on 12 step style online accountability ?

    2. Maureen on

      I had just picked my phone to watch porn that’s when I scrolled down on my start page and so this post. God is really working in me. Thank you so much

      Reply
    3. Jim smith on

      I’m finally ready to accept God as my Savior. He has been speaking to me in some very obvious ways. After 24 years of internet and porn abuse I feel like with him it is possible. And my wife who has been hurt and let down by me. Thank you for this amazing program.

      Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *