“The devil made me do it.”
A statement that was once frequently used to escape responsibility for bad behavior.
Ask a child—or even an adult—what their picture of the devil is, and you’ll probably hear some of the following in their answer: red suit, long pointed tail, pitchfork, impish grin, large teeth, and sly.
Whether such a being exists has been a hot topic of discussion for many years. Many assume he’s a fictional character fabricated by biblical writers to explain the presence of evil. Even some who believe in God don’t believe in an evil character whose power almost but not quite matches God’s.
In my family of origin, the devil’s existence wasn’t questioned—nor is it in my present family. We believed in his reality and in his power to lead us astray if we weren’t careful.
The Bible assumes and teaches Satan’s reality. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT).
Since Satan is classified as my adversary or enemy, it stands to reason he’s not looking out for our good. His deceptive nature is why he’s compared to a roaring lion. Lions kill, and this is what the enemy of our soul is interested in accomplishing.
From the beginning—when Satan rebelled against God and took a host of willing angels with him—his goal has been to steal, kill, and destroy those who follow God.
Although Satan does not share God’s characteristics of omnipresence, omniscience, or omnipotence, he is real. He can’t be everywhere personally, but he can through the help of his demonic cohorts. He doesn’t know everything, but he learns our weaknesses through his experiences of temptation. Neither is he all-powerful, but he is a supernatural being with more power than we have.
The devil is real, but he’s only as real in our lives as we allow him to be.