I was reading some blog comments recently and came across the question, “Who tempted Lucifer?” The questioner asked his question based on the premise: If Lucifer was created perfect and there was no outside source of temptation he would not have sinned. He even went on to claim that since there was no other source of evil outside of Lucifer before his fall, God must have tempted him. He seemed to know just enough about the Bible to confuse himself and possibly others.
The idea that God tempted Lucifer to sin is an unscriptural premise. Other participants in the debate disagreed with him, but none of them shared the scripture that deals with the source of temptation. James clearly states that God never tempts anyone to do evil! Also, he teaches that internal lust arises in one’s own heart and that lust, if acted upon, leads to sin. An outside tempter is not required.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. James 1:13-14
Based on this passage, we can be assured that Lucifer cultivated the growth of ungodly lusts in his own heart. Even though God created him perfect and placed him in a perfect environment, he sinned. Let’s look at the Bible’s description of Lucifer.
“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.” Ezek 28:15 NASB
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” Ezek 28:17 NASB
There is no mention of an outside tempter. One has only to read of his bejeweled outfit and his exalted position as a magnificent covering cherub to see that Lucifer had opportunity to think highly of himself. And he took it! It apparently didn’t take him long– as is implied by the next scripture we’ll share. He very quickly became entranced with his own beauty. It makes me think of Linda Ronstadt’s song, “Just one look! That’s all it took hah just one look!” As a newly created being, he became Narcissistic, and wanted an even higher position than he had been created for– but that’s another lesson– we are still examining temptation.
He (an elder) must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 1Timothy 3:6
This passage implies that immaturity from shortness of tenure may be a factor in pride that leads to a fall if one is exalted too quickly. And it sites Lucifer’s fall as an example to avoid, implying he was a novice when he fell.
Another passage describes the devil’s behavior from “the beginning”. He was a murderer and a liar. It clearly states that lies originated with him. He’s the father of lies. No one influenced him to lie or to murder. He simply responded to his inner lust for power and destruction and developed an evil nature to carry out his desires.
“You are of your father the devil… He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NASB
Based on what we’ve learned here, we need to heed the instructions given in Proverbs 4:23.
Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.
And understand: 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. I Cor 10:13 NIV
In conclusion. No one tempted Lucifer. He made bad choices. And we do not have to succumb to temptation if we will guard our hearts and submit our desires to God. We have His promise on that!