GodReflection: What’s the Big Deal about Satan?
This biggie sort of catches me off guard.
As I think of the big things I want to get right in charting my path I hesitate to place Satan on my list of seven.
But, I know I must.
Satan is a big deal.
In what we refer to as the “developed world” Satan and Sin have been leached from the vocabulary. Outside of church circles I seldom hear either mentioned. The 21st Century is far too sophisticated to believe in Satan—so we are told.
I just read the results of a Barna Group survey released on April 13, 2009. It was conducted among self-identified Christians:
Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.
That is approximately seven of every ten people who claim allegiance to Jesus doubt the existence of Satan.
From his first introduction in Genesis 3:1 through the prediction in Revelation 20:10 of his final defeat, the entirety of Scripture always deals with Satan as a reality. He was easily recognized by both God and Jesus.
The Gospels show him to be an active opponent of Jesus.
Time and again the apostles Paul, Peter, and John warn the churches to be alert to his schemes of destruction.
The author of the Sermon to the Hebrews reminds his listeners that Jesus came in the flesh to share the experience of humanity.
As a part of that existence he was to pass through death, so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.
James the brother of Jesus encourages Christ followers, to submit . . . to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Here’s what I think.
Scripture leaves no doubt that Satan is real and that I must watch for his attacks and influence. He is as real as God—just not as powerful.
At the same time the Apostle Peter provides me with a powerful symbol to enable me to keep alert. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Just as I can find no other plausible explanation for all of creation but God, neither can I find an acceptable explanation for all of evil except for Satan.
I want to walk on the path to God. To do so I want to be alert so that I can avoid the influence and domination of Satan.
Therefore, as I am looking for the seven road signs to guide my walk, I want to clearly identify the one that reads Satan.
I need to burn it close to the top of my memory bank for I notice it appears often as it points to inviting detours away from God’s path. Detours I want to avoid.
What’s the big deal about Satan? In addition to the pain and hurt he can inflict daily, he looks for every opportunity to totally derail my walk on earth and thus, my eternal destiny.
May God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit keep me out of his reach.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on What’s the Big Deal about Satan?