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Character: Can the Devil Make Me Do It?

Character: Can the Devil Make Me Do It?

Sorting through some of the discouraging headlines from the sports section of various newspapers , I find an amazing number of columns dealing exclusively with the topic of character, or lack thereof.

  • Jerry Sandusky, the retired Penn State assistant who coached scores of NFL defenders in his three decades at the university, was found guilty on 45 counts at his child sex abuse trial. (June 22, 2012)
  • NFL Commissioner Goodell suspended Sean Payton, the head coach of the Saints, for one year, suspended ringleader and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely, suspended New Orleans General Manager Mickey Loomis for eight games because of the bounty program. (March 22, 2012)
  • Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old girl. (May 6, 2010)
  • Ben Roethlisberger beats 3rd rape charge and suspended for six games. (April 12, 2010)
  • Reeling Brett Favre in trouble both on and off the field. (October 25, 2010)
  • NFL player arrested for DUI in California. (March 27, 2010)
  • Local NFL player charged with domestic battery. (April 28, 2010)

And the list goes on… and on… and on.

Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue once stated that there is a “crisis of character in the NFL.” Roger Goodell has dealt with his fair share of player issues, too, since taking on the job of NFL Commissioner in 2006.

In the spring of 2010, one young player asked Goodell what he considered to be the most important quality for an NFL player. Goodell answered without hesitation. “Well to me,” Goodell said, “it starts with character.”

21 NFL teams can’t afford to ignore the importance of character when rating the potential of a prospective player. It is more important than terrific times in the 40-yard dash or great moves in the open field.

If we identify fully with what it means to be a true disciple of Christ, if we submit ourselves totally to God’s authority over everything, if we humbly wish to serve Him in all our endeavors, then we will find ourselves in direct conflict with Satan. There is no room to compromise with the evil one. We are either aligned with the kingdom of God and His lordship over our lives, or we are in Satan’s kingdom and under his control. It is impossible to serve two masters. We cannot expect to play in the arena with evil elements and effectively work for the Lord.

Anyone who possesses spiritual humility will take an uncompromising stand against anything that doesn’t glorify Him.

To “resist the devil” means “to take a stand against” the person of Satan and anything he represents. It’s like former President George W. Bush said regarding terrorism: “Every nation… now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Prior to accepting Christ into our lives, we have little power to resist Satan’s pull. Our leveling moral influences were societal laws, cultural morals, our upbringing, and those people who influenced our decisions (family, friends, and so forth). Now, however, as people of deep convictions and having solid faith in Jesus Christ, we have a more powerful influence in our lives – the Holy Spirit. If we draw on God’s power to stand firm and resist the temptations that life brings, He will provide a way out for us. I’m reminded of the verse that kept me out of a great deal of trouble in my youth:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

We are called upon to flee from Satan’s influence and humble ourselves before the Lord. Being humble before God doesn’t mean being weak before Satan. Just the opposite. Seek the Lord, and He will enable you to stand firm.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

Game Plan:

  1. What temptations do you face?
  2. Are you humbly seeking God’s strength to help you stand firm against those temptations in your daily walk?

Excerpted with permission from Guts, Grace, and Glory by Jim Grassi, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2013.

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Your Turn

“Anyone who possesses spiritual humility will take an uncompromising stand against anything that doesn’t glorify Him.” What a phenomenal standard! How would you rate yourself on your character? Join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily