It is commonplace in our day to doubt the existence of the devil. Many who believe in God believe not at all in the devil. When people say, “The devil made me do it,” they mean the exact opposite. When someone says, “Oh, you devil,” it’s meant as a kind of compliment. And if someone means to seriously bring the devil into a polite discussion, the response is likely to be, “You’re not serious, are you?”
The reasons why this should be are not hard to discover. Living as we do in a scientific age where technology reigns supreme, medieval visions of the devil dressed in red with horns and carrying a pitchfork seem, well, very medieval. Sometimes the debate can get very passionate. A few weeks ago the ABC program Nightline sponsored a debate on the topic “Does Satan Exist?” in which New Age author Deepak Chopra asserted that “healthy people do not have any need for Satan.” That sentence more or less expresses the modern point of view. Science and psychology have relegated the devil to the pages of ancient mythology.
Satan’s greatest triumph may be in causing people not to take him seriously. If people don’t believe you exist, they won’t try to stop you. That may be one cause of the church’s weakness today. We fail to take the devil seriously. As a result, we rarely hear Satan talked about or preached about. And as a result, we are ignorant of his strategy, his power, his vast army, and his infernal plans. Most of our failure can be traced to a foolish self-confidence that overestimates our own abilities and underestimates the power of our spiritual enemies.
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