Occasionally, I hear Christians spend more time talking about the attack of the devil than describing what God is doing in their lives. They live in a dark world where demons supposedly hide in the shadows, where hope for tomorrow rests in surviving today. As I listen to their plight, I’m reminded of the gray-haired lady who stood in church and concluded her testimony by saying, “The devil has been after me all day. Bless his holy name.”In a few minutes watching the national news, I’m acutely aware of the evil that’s present everywhere, but I’m wondering if the devil deserves so much praise. He’s just a fallen angel, able only to be in one place at one time. So everybody can’t be right when they give the excuse: “The devil made me do it.”
When God judged people prior to the Great Flood, he said, “People’s thoughts are only evil continually.” The devil wasn’t to blame, because the people’s own desires had taken them the wrong way (James 1:14). We don’t need help to go our self-serving ways—lying, cheating, and stealing for what we think will be to our benefit. We’re quite capable of sin, all on our own.
Back when I was a kid, the popular comic-strip character Pogo became famous for saying, “We have found the enemy, and the enemy is us.” Where did he get that idea? Perhaps from the apostle Paul, who said, “I don’t waste my time shadow boxing, punching at the air. I bring my own body into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:26–27).