Summary: Adam and Eve show us what NOT to do when it comes to sin. Instead of trying to hide from God and shift the blame, confess your sin to God, repent of your wrong by turning back to God, and receive God's total forgiveness. Only then will you find peace.
The Devil Made Me Do It!
After reviewing their finances, a husband and wife decided it was time to tighten up, to spend less and save more. A day later, the wife was out shopping and found the dress of her dreams. It cost way too much, but she had to have it. When she showed it to her husband, he exclaimed, “After all we said about spending less, how could you?” She replied, “The devil made me do it.” The husband asked, “Didn't you tell him, ‘Get behind me, Satan?’” “I did,” the wife replied, “but he said, ‘It really looks great from the back, too!’”
Comedian Flip Wilson made famous with his character, Geraldine Jones, the phrase, “The devil made me do it.” An elder in one of my churches told me he believes the reason God is going to bind the devil for 1,000 years—as recorded in Revelation—is so that, for a while, no one can blame the devil for their sin.
Whether you’ve ever blamed the devil, you’ve probably blamed someone. We all play the “blame game.” No one really wants to take responsibility for their sin. It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful. It’s disappointing. We can all identify in some way with our first parents in Genesis 3. They wanted to avoid responsibility as much and as long as they could. Yet, when we avoid, we don’t get better. We don’t get right with God. We don’t find healing and forgiveness and restoration. So let’s learn how to deal with our sin by doing the opposite of Adam and Eve.
When you’ve sinned, take three steps. First,
1. Confess your sin to God (v. 8)
To confess means to agree with. You say to God, “You were right and I was wrong. I agree with you that I crossed the line. I trespassed. I missed the mark you have for me. I screwed up royally.” As soon as the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, confess it to God.
Adam and Eve put their own desires above God’s command. They thought they knew better than God. That arrogant belief is behind every sin we commit. Note what they did, in verse 8: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Have you ever hidden from God? Hiding is the exact opposite of ‘fessing up! It’s kind of a comical scene, really, how they hid from God, as if he couldn’t find them. Psalm 139 says there is nowhere we can go where God is not there. Adam and Eve had already made some leaf coverings for their bodies, as their sin had led them to feel shame for the first time. Now, instead of bringing their shame to God, they ran from God.
Like Jonah, though, they discovered you cannot outrun God. Instead of running from God, how about running to God? Run into God’s arms, like the prodigal son who returned home and discovered his father rushing out to meet him with love (Luke 15). That’s what happens when you and I confess, when we bring our sin to God. He is more than ready to hear your confession, and you’ll feel better when you get it off your chest. Yet, a confession is not enough. You also need to ...
2. Repent of your wrongdoing (vv. 12-13)
This is the difference between feeling sorry for what you did and taking steps to not do it again. While confessing means agreeing with, repenting means turning away from. In military lingo, we might call it “To the rear, march!” or “About face.” To repent is to turn away from your sin and to turn back to God. It is taking full responsibility for your sin and throwing yourself at the mercy of a holy God.
Notice this is the exact opposite of what Adam and Eve did. When God finally caught up with them and asked them about their sin, they both shifted the blame. Instead of taking responsibility and repenting, they blamed someone else. Verse 12: “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’” Who was Adam blaming? Actually, both God and the woman: “the woman YOU put here with me.” And what about Eve? Verse 13: “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” She blamed the serpent, and he scurried away on his stomach.
Each of our first parents shifted the blame to someone or something else. “The devil made me do it!” Today we might hear, “My parents ruined me. That’s why I’m so messed up.” Or, “My temper is just out of control.” Or, “It’s just my personality; that’s just the way I am.” Or, “They shouldn’t push my buttons! I can’t help it if they make me mad!” Or, “If she wouldn’t dress like that, guys wouldn’t act that way towards her!” All misdirected blame.