The Devil Made Me Do It

Little Freddy was playing ultimate hop-scotch when he saw Old Man Rutherford had placed a fresh baked pie on his windowsill to cool. Little Freddy knew he had no reason to go near the pie, but he was tempted to take the tantalizing treat, so he gave in and snuck the pie off the windowsill anyway, and ate it in a nearby bush.

It didn’t take long for Old Man Rutherford to notice his missing pie, so after investigating the crime scene, he noticed a trail of apple jelly that led all the way to Little Freddy eating the pie in the bushes, caught red handed. When Old Man Rutherford asked Little Freddy why he would take the pie even though he knew he shouldn’t have, Little Freddy replied: “The Devil made me do it!”

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” But even when we are made new, there is still that temptation that tries to get us back into our old selves. The Bible calls it our sinful nature. This sinful nature is in direct conflict with the Holy Spirit, but to delve further into this, I’m going to hand the mic to the Apostle Paul, who in Romans 8:5-14 says:

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.”

“But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

Paul states it plain and simple, doesn’t he?

  1. Following the sinful nature only leads to wickedness and death.

  2. Following the Holy Spirit only leads to righteousness, peace, and life.

  3. If you are a child of God (someone who has accepted Jesus Christ in their heart as their Lord and Savior) you can resist the sinful nature because you have the Spirit of God living in you.

So how do we resist the sinful nature?

We live our lives following the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Here are some ways to do that:

Get alone with God and talk to Him.

Having one on one time with anyone helps you get to know that person. Think about your peers, for example. There are some friends that you enjoy spending time with at school and Collide, but then there are others that you want to have one-on-one time with because that way its more special, bringing you closer in your relationship with them by focusing in on the lives of the two of you.

The way we stay connected to our closest relationships is the same way we stay connected with the Spirit. Remember that even the Son of God, while on Earth, separated Himself to spend some time alone talking with God the Father (Mark 1:35). (No rap session is one sided either, so make sure you listen to what the Spirit has to say as well!) Getting alone with God is one way to follow after and be led by the Holy Spirit.

Get alone with God and read His Word.

Words are how we communicate, after all. The Spirit will speak to you through the Bible, revealing truths about God, what He likes, what He doesn’t like, what He’s done, what He has planned for you, how He wants to use you, how much He loves you, and so on! Reading the Bible is how we get to know more about God, which, like in all relationships, brings us closer to Him. The more you read His Word, the more you will know Him. The more you know Him, the more you will follow and be led by the Spirit.

Talk to God all throughout your day.

When you’re constantly communicating with anyone, you know what they’ve been up to, what their desires are, what pleases them and what doesn’t. The same is true with prayer. Get into the habit of praying before making decisions, big and small. Talk to the Lord about what college you should enter, what job or class you take, or what to say to a friend, family member or stranger. Ask God to lead you in every choice you make. If you take time out to silently talk to God when someone is doing or saying something to upset you, the Holy Spirit will give you just the right thing to say or do in response. Talking to God all throughout the day and including Him in every aspect of your life is what following after and being led by the Spirit looks like!

Naomi’s Nugget: In verse 9 of Romans 8, Paul said: “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.” Remember that! You have been given free will by God, which means you have a choice in whether you will choose the sinful nature or the Spirit. And if you’re a Christian struggling with something of the sinful nature, remember that you are not alone in the fight, the Holy Spirit is in you. He will counsel, encourage and empower you. The Devil can’t make you do anything.

— S. Naomi King

Severn Run