(The Devil Made Me Do It?)
Few people can forget the day Princess Diana died. Every TV channel was working overtime with the news of her tragic death. Philip Yancy (Christian author) tells of an unexpected phone call he received soon after from a producer who asked him, “Can you appear on our show? We want you to explain how God could possibly allow such a terrible accident.” Really? That was God’s fault? Apparently, some thought so!
At a boxing match held in Las Vegas in November of ’81, boxer Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini slammed his Korean opponent Duk Koo Kim with a hard right causing a massive cerebral hemorrhage. At a press conference following Kim’s death, Mancini said, “Sometimes I wonder why God does the things He does.” Perhaps Mancini is wondering because he’s come up with a completely wrong conclusion?!
Ever been blamed for something you didn’t do? It’s a club we’re all members of, but God especially seems to get the brunt of the blame for all kinds of atrocities that aren’t His doing – even catastrophic natural disasters get called out as “Acts of God.” And many mistakenly believe that God controls our every decision, every action, every misdeed, as evidenced by the above two scenarios.
But does God really micromanage our lives? Is it true, as many believe, that nothing happens without the direct, intervening hand of God willing it so?? Of course not! That would take our free will off the table wouldn’t it? And face it – every single person reading this knows how controlling and strong-willed each of us can be!! Just ask my sweet husband or the mother of any rambunctious two year old!
God created us all with a free will. God’s in control, but He’s not in charge, and this single thought comes about as close to truly boggling our minds as anything ever will. Proverbs 19:3 states it perfectly: “There are some people who ruin their own lives by their own foolishness and then blame it all on God.”
Remember Flip Wilson, that hilarious comedian of the late 60’s and 70’s who made the expression, “The devil made me do it,” a common catchphrase? People ate it up and the devil was blamed for everything from over-spending to much more sinister activities. Could Flip Wilson possibly have been right? Maybe it’s not our fault or God’s fault after all – perhaps it’s been that ol’ devil all along!
Actually, in part, that’s true. But only in part. We all listen to three ‘voices’ – our own, God, and the devil. It’s our responsibility to discern who is speaking and influencing us at any given time.
But when it comes to the influence of darkness on our lives, the Bible put out a press release in Eph 6:11 warning us of Satan’s tactics: “Put on the whole armor of God so you’ll be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” And here’s the really interesting thing about that little word ‘wiles.’ It means strategies, devices, schemes, and methods. God wants us to be very alert to the fact that Satan is a mighty menacing spirit – he’s the enemy of every man’s soul and he’s out to deceive us (wiles) however he can and cause us lasting grief and misery! Pretty sobering! We can definitely call him “The Great Influencer for Evil.”
So, in the end, we are left with one glaring question: whose voice has the most influence in your life? Who do you take your ‘life cues’ from? As Mark Batterson so smartly puts it: “Is God’s voice the loudest voice in your life? That’s the question. If the answer is no, that’s the problem!”
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.com
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