Did the Devil Really Make You Do It?
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. Genesis 3:4
Have you ever said to someone, “May I offer you a suggestion?”
Seems like a nice, innocent gesture, right? It sounds like someone’s trying to be helpful, offering a tip or information the receiver hadn’t thought about before. Cool.
Now. Place a suggestion in the hands of a devil scorned, and you’ve got a grenade with the pin removed, timed just right to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). It’s cunningly tailored to our logic. It savagely agrees with our bias. The suggestion is sure to complement the darkest, disobedient places of our hearts.
From Eve in the garden to present-day believers, the enemy is constantly dropping hints and suggestions that would lead to our destruction. He has monitored our words and studied the abundance of our hearts (Luke 6:45). Before we talk about what these suggestions look like, let’s be reminded of what the enemy can and cannot do.
The Enemy’s Scope of Power
The enemy often uses the power of suggestion because there are limits to what he can do to us. For example, the devil cannot:
Force your actions.
The devil cannot make you do anything. He cannot take your hand and form your fingers to grab the forbidden “fruit”. He cannot seize your tongue, open your mouth, and make you say words that are hurtful and corrupt. The final choice before any action we take is our own powerful responsibility.
Act on his own authority.
There’s a lot of things the enemy may want to do to you, but he is still subjected to the authority of God. Before he makes a move, God sees, knows, and has set the boundaries as to how far the devil can go and when (Job 1:12).
Your soul belongs to God and your death is appointed by God – not the workings of the devil. The express intent of Jesus Christ is to counter the enemy’s attempts to kill and destroy us by giving us abundant life.
Discerning the Enemy’s Power of Suggestion
How can we better identify the enemy’s subtle suggestions? First, it’s imperative that we walk in the Spirit and use Godly wisdom – not wisdom that comes from the halls of hell (James 3:15-17). Here’s the modus operandi of the enemy’s suggestions:
1. It feels more like your own idea than a suggestion.
The devil never comes through the front door. As I shared, his crafty self knows how to tailor a sinful thought that already aligns with a weakness within us. The enemy will never present a suggestion with, “Hey, here’s a suggestion.” Thoughts will come in sheep’s clothing, like, “Wouldn’t it be great if…”, when all the while the suggestion is to achieve a positive result through negative or evil means. If you don’t shut the devil down immediately, like Eve failed to do, he will lead your thoughts to a false conclusion that you logically suspected all along.
2. They are filled with leading questions intended to capitalize on doubt.
“Did God really say that?” “Is it really a sin if I…” “How would anyone find out if I…” Teammates, sometimes when we think long, we think wrong. It’s because a seed has been planted to question an area in our lives where we’re weak. The enemy will try to capitalize on this weakness by getting us to answer in our own minds – versus taking the question to God and allowing the Spirit to lead us to the truth. What would have happened if Eve would’ve said, “I don’t know why you’re asking me what God said, serpent. Go ask Him yourself!”
3. The enemy’s suggestions come with co-signers.
This is where we have to guard our environment – even from friends and family members. Are you surrounded by sycophants who will always let you off the hook? Just when you’re right on the brink of turning away from the enemy’s suggestion, here comes someone you know and trust co-signing the bad decision. “Girl, I wouldn’t worry about that, because…” “It’s the perfect time and situation for you right now…” People, knowingly and unknowingly, will often water the rotten seeds planted by the enemy. We can’t let the closeness or the number of co-signers influence us from the truth and abundant life choices we have available through Jesus Christ.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Be sober and vigilant, teammates! We can’t go soft or get lazy in the watch over our souls – the enemy is relentless, and so are we!
Look out for each other. While the enemy has his minions on seek and destroy missions, we must be about our mission to show love to one another and bear each other up. Let’s be the army of the Lord – led by the Holy Spirit, guarding our hearts, and covering our fellow soldiers against the power of suggestion by our adversary.