Do you actually believe the devil is real, or is he just a figment of man’s imagination? I’ve been asked that question a number of times across my many years of ministry. Skeptics, critics, and growing numbers of modern theologians ridicule the idea that the devil is a real being. Rejecting clear teaching in God’s word, they choose their own opinions and ideas. Many feel Satan is nothing more than a creation of man’s mind. They conjecture that the devil is a fabrication of psychologically weak people seeking an excuse for bad behavior and/or events they don’t understand.
There are many things that convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the enemy of our souls truly does exist. First, I believe the unmistakable teaching of the Bible. It is the divinely inspired thoughts of the only One who has perfect knowledge and wisdom. Scripture’s unambiguous portrayal of a wicked being in our world is certainly convincing.
Secondly, the orthodox teaching of the Church across more than two thousand years has weighed heavily in my belief about the devil. The greatest religious minds of the ages have held strong convictions as to the reality of the devil. Long after the rumblings of ‘Johnnies-come-lately’ have been forgotten and the worms have eaten the yellowed pages they have written, the great classic writings of time-honored theologians and church fathers will still be relevant. I also rest my confidence in veterans of the faith whose lives I have personally observed. They have demonstrated wisdom and credibility to me.
A third factor in my belief is reasoned and rational thought. I have learned that I can trust my own study and thought processes. Scripture informs me that as a true believer the ‘mind of Christ’ dwells in me. Paul said, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). If I am dwelling in Him with clean hands and a pure heart, I can have the mind of Christ on such issues. In addition, the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit is promised to help me think my way through these matters. Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
Finally, examples in the life of Jesus provide me with an unshakable conviction that the devil is real. The accounts found in Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, and Luke 4:1, give a graphic record of the personal encounter between Jesus and the devil in the wilderness. It was not a brief meeting, but lasted forty days. Parts of the exchange between the Savior and Satan are there for us to read. Other references by the Lord, throughout His ministry provide additional proof texts for the reality of devil.
What is my reaction to the devil? I truly believe that he is real. I respect him, but I do not fear him, “because greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7, KJV)
~ Brother Roy