A few years ago when I decided I needed to lose weight (truthfully, I am at that point again), I decided to try a high protein – low carb diet for a few days. After a two days, I was beginning to tell a difference. On day three, a minister friend called and asked about joining me for lunch. I tried to eat healthy, but there were yeast rolls. Later that day, someone brought a bag of chocolate to the church building and left it open on my desk. That night we went to a movie and how can you watch a movie without popcorn. I blew my diet that day. Temptations were all around me, easily accessible, and I rationalized each transgression.
While I am not suggestion the “devil made me do it,” I am reminded of how Satan provides opportunity for God’s people to sin against God. Consider Jonah. Jonah did not want to do what God told him to do. Jonah did not want to preach to the Ninevites, so Jonah fled. He found a boat that just happened to be going the other direction, one that took passengers. Jonah happened to have the money for the fare. Jonah also found enough peace with his decision that he was able to sleep through a storm that had everyone else panicking. Satan provided the ship, the fare, and the peaceful feeling that Jonah needed to make his decision to disobey God easy.
I am reminded of an interview of a person in ministry that had recently began doing things in ministry that are inconsistent with Biblical doctrine. Their justification was basically this, “When I began doing this opportunities were open to me and I had a peace about it. I feel that God provided the opportunities and provided the peace. I know what I am doing is right.” Jonah could have said the same thing.