The Devil? Really?

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In our culture, increasingly secular and marked by disbelief, there is a strange statistic. About 60% of us believe in the existence of the Devil! The survey that I read revealed that we are not very precise about who we think the Devil is. Evil is a common word used. We also tend to identify the devil with people and behavior with which we disagree! So, who is this being? Does he actually exist? He does and he aims to destroy wherever, however, he can through the work of lesser beings called demons.  Even as I write those words, I know that some will run wild with them, seeing demons behind every disappointment, blaming the devil for things that really come from their own refusal of God and good!  It’s so much easier to say “the devil made me do it,” than it is to take responsibility to live as the Lord desires.

None the less, we force a mistaken understanding on the Scripture, if we dismiss the devil as relic of superstition. John’s apocalyptic book, Revelation, contains some vivid language to describe the devil. In chapter 12, we are told of an ‘enormous red dragon’ (not to be understood literally, but rather as a picture language symbol) who was poised to destroy the Messiah at his birth, who rebelled against the order of Heaven and was defeated by Michael, the archangel, who was kicked out of the Presence of God.  We learn that he has “had a great fall; He’s wild and raging with anger; he hasn’t much time and he knows it.” (Revelation 12:12, The Message)  John was not just a man who was steeped in myth. He was given visions, inspired with insight, so that he could see the spiritual realities. He ‘saw’ that Evil has a name and a personality! “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” (Revelation 12:9, NLT)

From John we learn that two primary aims of the devil are to destroy the works of God and to deceive the world! Paul tells us that the deceiver is adept at disguise, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14, NIV)

Do I live in terror of the devil? Not at all, nor should any child of God.  I am secured by He who is greater. The sacrifice of Christ has restored me to the embrace of my Heavenly Father. When I ‘keep step with the Spirit,’  I am given authority over the darkness. John says of Christians, “they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”  (Revelation 12:11, NLT) He alludes to the Exodus story, one of faith in which the Israelites who obediently responded in faith by putting the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts escaped the death angel’s judgment. We receive Christ, by faith, and His sacrifice covers us. We live fearlessly, not in our own strength, but in the power of the Spirit.

My conviction about the reality of evil is what causes me to seek to bring salvation to this world in which I live.  Evil is not just the result of ignorance or lack of opportunity. Do those things contribute to the suffering? Yes, they do.  But, I also see that evil is personal, intentional, and aimed at anything and anyone God created and loves.  But, even as we face the attacks of evil that comes at us through ‘the world, the flesh, and the Devil’  we have a promise of victory!  Martin Luther wrote, in his hymn, A Mighty Fortress, that though we walk in a world ‘with devils filled,’ who ‘threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.’

Here’s a word from the Word. Meditate on it. Let the Truth give insight into your own behavior and that of those who are around you, then pray to be holy and to be part of the Divine Conspiracy to save Creation! Both James and Peter teach a key principle to winning over evil. It starts with humility and submission to God!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, NIV)  “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV)

Let the Lord of life guide you and He will keep you in the hour of trial.

_______

Under His Wings

Under His wings
I am safely abiding
Tho the night deepens
And tempest are wild
Still I can trust Him
I know He will keep me
He has redeemed me
And I am His child

Under His wings
What a refuge in sorrow
How the heart yearningly
Turns to His rest
Often when earth
Has no balm for my healing
There I find comfort
And there I am blest

Under His wings
O what precious enjoyment
There will I hide
‘Til life’s trials are o’er
Sheltered protected
No evil can harm me
Resting in JesusI’m safe evermore

Under His wings
Under His wings
Who from His love can sever
Under His wings
My soul shall abide
Safely abide forever

Liz Wagley | William Orcutt Cushing

© Words: Public Domain

 

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