The Devil Can’t Make You Do It

Have you ever wondered why the devil, the imposing leader of a rebellious army of supernatural beings, appeared in the Bible first as a serpent? It may have something to do with the truth that the devil can’t make you do anything.

In light of the presence of this incredibly gracious and compassionate God, we have an enemy who tirelessly seeks to distance us from Him. When Satan arrives in the Garden of Eden, no preface is given. Have you ever considered that? The narrative has focused on an incredible God creating everything and establishing a couple in paradise where He meets with them. There has been nothing said about an enemy, but then a serpent starts talking.

Adam and Eve are living life in this incredible environment with no issues at hand. They are tilling the ground. They are naming the animals. Everything is going great until this walking and talking serpent approaches, and nothing is ever the same afterward.

Later biblical passages help us understand more concerning this character, but the first revelation is intriguing.

  • The devil himself comes as a serpent. Known as a tragically fallen angel (2 Pet. 2:4), this great deceiver (Rev. 12:9) disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
  • He prowls around like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8) and is the great dragon of old (Rev. 12:9).
  • He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and knows how to blind our eyes to the truths of God (2 Cor. 4:4).

This intimidating figure should bewilder us even though he does not unnerve God in the slightest bit. But out of all the ways he could have appeared in Eden, he came as a serpent. He did not march through the Garden as an imposing angelic wonder.

Satan approached Adam and Eve like a serpent over which they had dominion.

God had given Adam and Eve authority over every animal in creation (Gen. 1:26). They did not need to fear or flee from a single one. At any given time, Adam and Eve could flex their way for any type of animal to submit to them. 

And yet, Satan came as a being they were able to control. Either Satan wanted to come in unsuspectedly, or he was denied the right to enter Eden’s grounds with an unfair advantage.

I believe Satan’s serpent-like semblance was necessary because Adam and Eve could have refused.

They had the opportunity and the authority to take that lying, conniving snake out of their house and continue on the regularly-planned schedule of fulfilling God’s desires. They could have said “no,” but they didn’t. Why didn’t they see his trickery? It wasn’t apparent at first, and that is the brilliance of his strategy toward them. It worked so well that he still hasn’t adapted it today.

Just as Satan came as a serpent, I pray this truth will embolden you today: You don’t have to give in to Satan’s temptations. The devil cannot make you do it. Whatever it is. You can refuse. You can push back. You can resist.

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13