It’s hard to take some things seriously, isn’t it?
Heaven, hell, angels, demons. All of the crazy stories in the Bible.
What do you think? Real or not real?
There’s a lot of debate over whether the Bible should be taken literally. Whether we argue on the side of literal or figurative interpretation, all Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. But it isn’t until we really dig in that some of the preconceived notions we’ve held onto since childhood can be either substantiated or dispelled.
Digging in is key.
I’ve never doubted the existence of God, or that when we die, we will go to just one of two places for all of eternity with no chance to change our minds once we realize that heaven and hell are for real.
Angels I wasn’t so sure of until recently, though I never bought into the idea of us each being assigned a “Guardian Angel,” nice as that sounded. And everything I knew about demons came only from scary movies like The Exorcist and warnings about Ouija boards, both of which I considered the best kind of entertainment ever in my stupider years.
But the biggest and most dangerous misconception I had was about Satan.
I don’t think I’m alone in having dismissed him as not real.
* * *
I fully intended to SAP Ephesians 6:10-18 today, because that’s the Scripture that has been popping up for me for more than a week now–so much so that it’s been eery. Freakily so. To the point that today I finally started to dig in again and pay attention. Because I believe that when I keep getting hit over the head with a particular biblical passage, it’s for a reason.
And this one scares me. Because I now know that Satan is real. I met him in Haiti in 2012. And as familiar as I think I am with his ploys, I know I’m not beyond his reach. He’s sneaky. And I think he loves the fact that we don’t take him seriously, that we don’t even believe he’s real. Because as long as we continue to view him as a laughable little red guy with horns and a pitchfork, we will be completely vulnerable when he attacks.
And he will. Always when and where we’re at our weakest.
1 Peter 5:8: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Satan is always depicted as a cute cartoon character, usually smiling, often winking…no more menacing–or real–than Casper the Friendly Ghost.
But that’s not what God tells us about His enemy. We’re wise to pay attention to His warning, and to be prepared by putting on the full armor of God as instructed in Ephesians 6:10-18.
Because Satan is real. And although his attacks don’t involve spinning heads and green vomit (still remembering The Exorcist), they can be fierce and just as surprising. A little inset in my study bible explains it like this:
|Satan fills us with:||For the purpose of:|
||Making us question God’s word and His goodness|
||Making us look at our problems rather than at God|
||Making the wrong things seem attractive so that we will want them more than the right things|
||Making us feel like a failure so that we don’t even try|
||Making us put off doing something so that it never gets done|
Yes. That’s how Satan messes with me. And it freezes me just as effectively as seeing Linda Blair’s head spin did in the 1970s.
Father, this week-long barrage of Ephesians 6:10-18 has caught my attention and scares me. What is it that You are preparing me for? Or is it more of a wake-up call to the fact that I’ve been sloughing off and need to jump back on Your bandwagon? I can’t help but see how those “5 D’s” apply to me…doubt, discouragement, diversion, defeat, delay and pure laziness.
I hate the thought of falling for Satan’s ploys, even in the short term. Please get and keep him off my back. I want to give You 100% every day. Keep me faithful to You, grounded in Your truth and confidently moving forward in each area You’ve sent me. Thank you for bringing to light every lie that Satan lays on me, for giving me the strength and the gumption to get the job done for You. Amen.