Read 1 Peter 5:8
“Be self-controlled and vigilant always, for your enemy the devil is always about, prowling like a lion roaring for its prey.” (JBP)
The devil is often seen as some legendary figure with horns and pitchfork. He is sometimes viewed as an object of jokes. But he is no laughing matter.
Jesus seemed to acknowledge his reality. We know little about him, but it is assumed he is a spiritual being who got too big for his boots before creation and who set himself up as an opposition party to God’s good government of his world.
This evil one is out to destroy and dehumanise. He doesn’t set out to do this in obvious ways. He is subtle, like that serpent in the first Garden. He doesn’t give up either. He prods and pokes around for our weaknesses and exploits them by seducing us into thinking his way is the better way.
Satan has two basic strategies. One is to lull people into thinking he doesn’t exist. So evil is put down to bad politics or economics. Evil can be removed if we make the world a better place. The other approach is to have people preoccupied with him. Even some Christians seem more aware of Satan’s power to seduce than God’s power to strengthen. Evil becomes the overarching reality and we become paranoid and fearful.
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The Christian author C.S. Lewis wisely said we make two equal and opposite errors about the devil: we ignore him, or become unhealthily obsessed with him. He wins in either case. Better to be alert and yet not alarmed.