Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And each will wrestle for the mastery there.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from Faust
Back in the 1970’s comedian Flip Wilson built a whole comedy routine on the phrase ‘The Devil made me do it’ and even if you weren’t around back then, I’ll bet you’ve said it. Ever since Eve blamed Satan, we’ve tried to escape accountability. Adam was worse; he blamed God saying “that woman you gave me.” Yes we are sorry, but more sorry that we got caught and the remorse we feel is from the consequences of the mess we are in.
Here’s the dirty little secret – seduction requires collusion.
From Goethe’s Faust to Kierkegaard’s Repetition literature is filled with dealing with the Devil. The heart of every sin is idolatry because it all comes back to us trying to be our own god. Sadly, the real desires we are trying to fulfill are God-given and come with a perfect path of fulfillment, but we usually aren’t willing to either wait or follow direction. Augustine said temptation has three stages – suggestion, imagined pleasure and consent. We get into trouble with step two.
Sociologist will tell you that everyone is capable of crime given the right motivation and opportunity. Friend, you will have a lot of opportunity today so you better check your motives. The hardest question to answer in life is simply ‘What do I want?’
If you earnestly want to be in a loving relationship with God, He’s ready and able to help. If you would rather shut God out and serve yourself, there’s a darker voice who will encourage you to open the cracked door. Just remember, it’s your choice. As Nietzsche said “when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
Just don’t blame God when the demons come out.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.