Evil has been personified in our culture for decades in an attempt to make it more palatable and less threatening. Consider these three examples.

Do you recall the humorous TV commercials with a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, both trying to persuade the person to follow their way of thinking. 

Or who could forget the famous Charlie Daniels song from 1979 that described a fiddle contest down in Georgia between the devil and a young boy named Johnny who took the devil’s bet to determine who was the better fiddle player. If Johnny won, he would win the devil’s fiddle made of gold, but if he lost, then the devil would win Johnny’s soul. 

And in 2022, a new tv series called “Little Demon” premiered worldwide. It was an animated show about a young teenage girl named “Chrissy” who was the spawn of satan. The show normalized demonic ideas and witchcraft, and had the potential to introduce vulnerable young children to concepts way beyond their understanding. Thankfully, it was cancelled after one season…but still! 

We cannot ignore the fact that culture has played a significant role in influencing our perspective of satan, evil, and spiritual warfare. You may not even be sure what you believe about these topics, and that’s ok. These monthly devotionals will challenge you to dive deeper into this very real topic and learn how to be equipped to stand firm. 

The Bible provides several glimpses into the spiritual realm.  Here are just a few:

  • Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3) — From the very beginning, Satan sought to lead God’s creation away from Him. He used the darts of doubt and greed to tempt Eve, and unfortunately, she believed his lies and drew her husband into sin as well.
    • Job (Job 1-2; 42) — Do you ever picture Satan approaching God’s throne to talk? Interestingly, that’s what we see in Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-7. God draws attention to His faithful servant Job, declaring “there is no one on earth like him.” Job had known God through what he had been told by his ancestors, but the suffering he experienced at the hand of Satan gave Job eyes to SEE God. God often reveals Himself to us in the battle.
    • Elisha (2 Kings 6:8-23) — Elisha boldly defied the king of Aram who desired to destroy Israel. In retaliation, the king sent a strong military force one night to surround the city where Elisha and his servant were staying. When the servant understandably cried out in fear, Elisha told him not to be afraid and asked God to open the servant’s eyes to see the Lord’s heavenly army that surrounded them! In fact, the hills were filled with horses and chariots of fire. Sometimes the Lord allows visible glimpses into the invisible spiritual realm.
    • Jesus (Matthew 4 and Luke 4) — After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was repeatedly tempted by Satan who sought to make the Son of God fall into sin, even twisting Scripture to support his attempts. Remember, Satan is the father of lies and deception is one of his most effective weapons. However, Jesus knew Satan’s schemes and rebutted each attack with Scripture.

Keep in mind, Jesus existed (along with God and the Holy Spirit) from eternity past. Satan did not.  Jesus was there when Satan and all the angels were perfectly created. Jesus was there when sin was “found” in Satan who (in his own pride) rebelled against God and took a third of the angels with him. Jesus was there when Satan was cast down to his earthly domain. 

Jesus knew this fallen angel inside and out. He knew his mind, his schemes, and his devious ways, and Jesus responded with the Word of God to every single temptation Satan offered. In Luke 4:13, we’re told that, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.”  This is what happens when we stand firm against the enemy!  When we resist him, he flees from us (as we are told in James 4:7).  Again we see in this Biblical account that Satan is very real and He’s very evil.

This is why Paul’s words in Ephesians 6 are so important.  They are the “field guide” for how to resist the devil and stand strong in the battle. Jesus already won the war and defeated Satan at the cross. However, Satan’s ultimate demise still lies ahead, and he’s seeking to do as much destruction as possible until then. 

Erwin Lutzer stated it this way: “Today he is out on bail. He is allowed to roam until his final judgment. The sentence to the lake of fire has only been postponed. The verdict has already been read.”

John Stott points out that “The devil has been defeated and dethroned. Far from this bringing his activities to an end, however, the rage he feels in the knowledge of his approaching doom leads him to redouble them.” That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it!

As we said in the previous post, when we fight against the enemy, we are wrestling — it requires unique training, physical stamina, mental strength, and confidence. And who are we wrestling against? The rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. That is so important to remember, and it is so contrary to human nature. We instinctively react against people because they are an easy target and usually they are the “face” of the enemy in that moment — something they said or did that provokes within us a desire to retaliate. 

But if we take a moment and step back, we can regain perspective and remember that they are not the enemy. Knowing who your real enemy is will affect how you engage in battle. We will dive deeper into this topic next time.

One last thing before we close today, notice the one word repeated five times in Ephesians 6:12 which says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

When we go against something, we’re going in contrast to it. Picture in your mind a swimmer going against the current. It’s tough work and it’s demanding — physically and mentally. The swimmer has to maintain consistent forward effort even just to stay in place! Relax for just a moment, and he or she will lose ground, getting swept away by the current.

Our battle against the enemy is demanding as well — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually — and we have to be vigilant, not giving any ground to the enemy. But the big difference in our battle is that Jesus has already won. We stand strong against the enemy in the power of God.  He has given us resources and tools so we can stand victorious through Christ.

If you are a believer in Jesus as your Savior, then God has already equipped you with everything you need.  In your soul beats the heart of a warrior who just needs to be encouraged, empowered, and released.

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