by Mark Aites


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

It is a simple, yet straight forward truth, that we are engaged in battle.  It is a sobering reality to realize that the war we are engaged in has eternal consequences.  It is very real, and yes, it is very deadly (in a spiritual sense).  Our adversary is a formidable foe, who cannot be without Christ (Philippians 4:13).

Hollywood’s portrait of the Devil is a far cry from Scripture.  In their fantasy, he is portrayed as red, with a pointy tail, having horns, a pitchfork, and hooves.  This fascinating, but ludicrous portrayal; came about as man sought to mix Scripture with medieval lore.  Faust also had a legend in which he called the devil “Mephistopheles” and pictured him as a sinister old man who has a pointed black beard.

Despite man’s efforts to portray Satan as some frightening looking character who lurks in every shadow, the Bible makes it crystal clear that these notions are without biblical basis.  Our adversary can appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  He works not on the basis of fear by means of his appearance, but with deceit and subtlety (Genesis 3:1).  He does not manifest himself as some fearful apparition, but instead works his desire through those whose hearts are open to evil.

We take great comfort in the realization that our adversary is not all-powerful.  Medieval lore raised his status to that of equality, with God.  Scripture, however, makes it dear that his power is nowhere near that of the power of God. When the sons of God presented themselves before God; Satan appeared among them (Job 1:6).  The first two chapters of Job make it quite evident that any action which he took against Job, had to be permitted (cf. also Peter, Luke 22:31).

Should Christians fear the evil one?  Why should we?  Jesus was able to resist him with Scripture (Matthew 4).  James encourages us, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  Yes, he can be overcome.  And with prayer and a familiarity with the Word of God, we can succeed.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalms 119:11).