“But each person is tempted when he is lured an enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15 ESV).
I’m sure you’ve heard it said before: “Satan keeps tempting me!” Many well-meaning Christians make this statement not realizing the theological error. In the process–whether they know it or not–they are not taking full responsibility for their sin.
We’ve been doing this since the garden of Eden, where Eve attempted to shift blame to Satan for her sin: “Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate'” (Genesis 3:13).
In this post, I want to talk about Satan’s involvement in our fight again sin. Does Satan actively tempt you to sin? Does he even know you exist or is it other demons that tempt you? These are questions Christians would be wise to consider.
Satan is Not All-Knowing
There’s the common misconception that Satan has the same attributes that God possesses. That it’s Satan against God, on an equal playing field, and they ar playing tug of war. This is simply untrue. Satan was created by God, and therefore is not omnipotent, omnipresent, or omniscient. God has Satan on a leash. In light of this, it’s possible that he doesn’t even know your name. He is not everywhere at once. He has his own minions, for sure, but he doesn’t know everything or everybody.
Because of this, it’s unwise for us to always blame our sin on Satan. Yes, of course, spiritual warfare is real and there are demons who would do anything to get you to sin. (I will get to that in a moment.) However, more likely than not, you are being “enticed by your own desire.”
I’m not necessarily talking to Christians who understand this but to those who make it a habit to blame their sin on Satan and his demons. It reveals you don’t want to take responsibility for your sins–for your own choices. If you sin, it’s because you desired to sin.
Spiritual Warfare is Real
At the very same time, we must not minimize Satan’s influence over the world. He is crafty and seeking to devour. We shouldn’t underestimate his powers and ways in which he attempts to destroy us. Yes, there is much nuance there and some speculation as to the degree in which Satan himself tempts us.
The bottom line, however, is spiritual warfare is very real. Every single day Christians hop off their beds and enter into a war zone. We fight the world, the flesh, and yes–the devil. Whether it’s him personally or other demonic forces that want nothing more than to destroy God’s people. They want us to doubt God’s goodness–the same thing Satan tried against Job.
Downplaying spiritual warfare is just as bad as overplaying it.
It’s Your Sin
Friend, when you sin, it’s your fault. Not your friend’s, your family’s, or Satan’s. You sinned. What you must do is confess that sin before God and take responsibility for it. Even when you are tempted by demonic forces or whatever it may be, you still make the active decision to sin. It’s you. In the end, you are to blame. My former pastor once said that: “The only reason you’re not closer to God right now is because of you.”
No excuses. No blame-shifting. No minimizing. Spiritual warfare is real, but we won’t get anywhere in sanctification if our response is always that the devil is tempting us rather than our own sinful desires. When we focus so much on satanic forces rather than our own issues, it’s easier to not put our own sin to death.
And sin needs mortified (Romans 8:13).