Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." - Genesis 3: 13 (ESV)
The devil has done a masterful job at deceiving the world into accepting a victim mentality. That nothing is ever our fault. We are overweight not because of our eating habits but because of factors beyond our control. We are addicted because of genetics or illness and never choice. We view our adulterous affair as a spectator not in control of the events we ourselves set in motion. The result is of course disastrous as we cede control of our lives to outside forces and never see any need to actually change what we do. As Christians, we rationalize instead of repent. This leads us to talk about our sin instead of turn from it. To assign blame outside of ourselves so that we can play the victim. Passing the buck is as old as the creation of man. It started in the Garden of Eden. After the fall of man God asked Eve what she had done and the key verse shows us that he instinct was to blame the devil. The devil deceived me and I sinned. While this statement is true, it does not mean that devil made Eve do anything. God provides us with the entire incident so that we might learn from it.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. - Genesis 3: 1-6 (ESV)
The first lesson we should take from this is understanding our adversary. The dictionary defines crafty as "skilled in underhanded and evil schemes; deceitful." I think sometimes we think crafty merely means clever but the words goes far beyond that. Clever does not imply the evilness of crafty. The deceitfulness. Sometimes in modern churchianity there is a tendency to be dismissive of our enemy, unless of course we are blaming him for our sin. The Bible makes no doubt about the ferocity of the devil.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. - 1Peter 5: 8 (ESV)
The devil may be asking you to dance, as he asked Eve, but his goal is to devour you. His goal is to destroy you. He cannot do it on his own. He needs you to destroy yourself. That is why deceitfulness is his primary weapon. He is always deceitful. There is no truth found in him. The Bible says that lying is his native language. Do we understand that today? The way you and I might speak only English or Spanish, he only speaks lies and he is not bilingual. Therefore we must understand his craftiness is easily undone if we would only recognize that he is lying. Look at the opening statement from the devil to Eve:
"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
This beloved is a lie. The enemy knew full well that this was not what God had said at all. The purpose of this statement is not to convince Eve that she heard God wrong but to engage her in a conversation. You cannot convince someone your lies are truths if they refuse to even talk to you. So, while the sin of eating the forbidden fruit is still a ways away, the germination of that sin is right here when Eve thought she could dance with the devil and engage in a conversation with him:
And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
Perhaps Eve thought she was defending God. She was correcting his half-true statement. Let me assure you beloved that God does not need our defense. There is no rationale for talking to the devil. Nothing can be gained from it. He is lying to you. In practical terms this is us flirting with a married co-worker while this conversation is played out in our wicked heart:
"Did God really say we should never flirt?"
"Well, flirting isn't sex. Sex is adultery."
"There's nothing wrong with some harmless flirtation."
We have to realize that two months later when we have committed adultery that this is where it started. This is where the crafty lie was spun. This was where we entertained the lie. Make no mistake though. Even in this scenario, the devil did not make us do anything. These are all our choices.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. - James 1: 14-15 (ESV)
It is our own desire that lures and entices us. For some it may be lust. For others power, greed or pride. The devil know what to lie to us about. That is why he is crafty. If I was married and loved my wife to the point that nothing would shake that, then it is unlikely the devil will lie to me about another woman to lure me into sin. But if I am greedy the lies may be about cutting corners to make money. Regardless of the scenario he cannot make me do anything. He can present me with what I desire and lie to me, but the decision is always mine. Remember when Jesus was tempted: