by Tim Hall
Can personal sins be blamed on Satan?
To see the 62-year-old woman being fingerprinted must have been a surprise. To hear her explanation of why she committed the felony must have been even more astounding to those booking her.
The woman from Arlington, Washington was not named in the March 19, 2009 “HeraldNet,” the online news journal in Everett, WA. She served as an administrative assistant with a church from early 2000 until February of 2008. During that time she admitted to taking over $73,000 from church funds. As she showed tearful remorse during her confession, she “guessed that Satan had a big part in the theft.”
Stealing money from a church will make news headlines. Blaming that act on the devil is also a sure way to draw attention. What do we who believe in the reality of Satan make of her defense?
Jesus exposed the motives of our archenemy in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV).
Satan may seem to be a friend when he offers pleasure, power or fame. Beneath his cloak, however, is a dagger that he plans to plunge into our heart!
Later in John’s gospel we are introduced to a thief. Judas had criticized a generous gift from an adoring disciple. What were his motives for judging her? “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:6).
Stealing from religious funds is therefore nothing new. But how did an apostle fall so low?
In his parable of the sower, Jesus told about the hardened ground: “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15).
Judas had heard the words of life just as the other apostles had. At some point, however, he hardened his heart. According to John 13:2, Satan had been given free access to the betrayer’s heart.
Yes, Satan can lead us to do many things we would never have dreamed of doing. But the real question is this: Can he overpower those whose intent is to be righteous? John’s answer is clear: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Satan is most certainly a powerful foe. But those who walk closely with their Master will never be overpowered by the devil (James 4:7). The devil can’t make us do anything when Christ is our Lord.
by Tim Hall