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By succumbing to the temptations of Satan in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve set the pattern for the rest of humanity. From then on, human beings tended towards selfishness and rebelliousness against God’s commandments.
The Bible represents Satan as the master manipulator of human nature. Our weakness, combined with the devil’s influence, has led the whole world into sin. Without the positive influence of God’s Spirit our self-focused nature resists living according to God’s biblical instructions, while Satan influences us to to give in to our human wants and desires more than we normally would.
Like Adam and Eve when they were first created, we are born with a neutral nature but we very quickly develop the selfish attitudes of the corrupted human society around us. The tendency of human beings to exalt self and disobey God is known as human nature, referred to in the Bible by such terms as “the carnal mind” and “fleshly lusts”.
As powerful as Satan’s influence is, the devil can’t force us to sin. He simply seduces us through our fleshly weaknesses and wrong ways of thinking. Paul graphically describes the effect corrupt desires have on human behavior in Galatians 5:19-21, and in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
As human beings we look for ways to justify our lusts and deceive ourselves that, since our desires are natural, they are not so bad after all, although we are warned, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; Proverbs 16:25). We resent being limited by God’s rules and, without God’s Spirit to help us, nurture a mindset that is hostile and unsubmissive to God.
We need God’s Spirit to help us recognise and resist the selfish nature we have developed under Satan’s influence and to begin to develop a godly nature.
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