Satan. The Devil. The lion seeking whom he may devour. The thief who comes to only to steal and kill and destroy. The crafty serpent. Satan, the fallen, the arch-enemy of God. In these evil days, why is no one talking about him?
So little ink is spent on Satan, the evil force who works in direct opposition to God. Even devout, regular churchgoers rarely hear about Satan. Yet Satan’s presence is everywhere in ways subtle and overt.
Who thinks of amassing guns and killing as many people as possible while enjoying a concert in Las Vegas after a seemingly normal life? What idea infected this man? What bitterness grew to mass murdering levels?
Who thinks of killing political opposition at a baseball game? Who plans for weeks, grabs guns, drives across many states, makes a list, and guns down politicians playing baseball?
Who scopes out nightclubs, gathers guns, and goes into the club and shoots and shoots?
Who starves, tortures and abuses their child to death with their family’s help?
These cases are obvious, overt evil. But how about the more subtle evil?
How does one reconcile the goodness, the colorblind love of neighbor helping neighbor in the deadly hurricane Harvey and then see the division happening with violent protests in places like Berkeley?
Human beings are born fallible creatures given to acts of selfishness. Left alone and of their own devices, they’re capable of the evil described above and worse. Humans have always been this way. History is replete with examples of heinous cruelty.
Looking around today at the violence, the explosions of inexplicable rage and fury loosed on the hundreds of the innocent bespeaks something more and of a different quality.
It’s difficult to find the words to describe this. There seems to be an unthinking, irrationality to the violence. People who may never have imagined doing such things, lose their minds, and rampage.
There was a time, when all Americans went to church each Sunday, that this evil would be named for what it was: the actions of the Devil. And evil, in seed form, was watched over and nipped in the bud. There was talk of the Judgement and eternal damnation and reminders of the consequences of evil. This talk is considered closed-minded and quaint.
Our increasingly secularized society gives little place for God and therefore, cannot fathom an active, roving, angry Devil infecting the minds and actions of people. There’s lots of paying deference to the “Universe”. People claim to be spiritual and loving while being condemning and narrow minded about anyone who isn’t as “highly evolved” as they. Oprah has made her career on this bland spiritualism defanged of a righteous God or an evil Devil. Facebook star J.P. Sears has parodied this lifestyle while making a good living off of it. The title of his book, “How to be Ultra Spiritual.”
The problem with this philosophizing with no absolutes: being unarmed in the face of the evil seen in Las Vegas. This murderous man may or may not have been possessed by the devil, but there’s no question he was a servant of his influence.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul talks about Satan’s influence:
And you has he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
2In which in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our behavior in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
This is standard Christian understanding, but lost in this modern, intellectualized world. While people credulously believe the stories of near-death experiences, those same people will deny that evil is driven not just by men, but by a spirit realm.
How else to explain the convulsions gripping this world? Can anyone not look at his own life and see the signs? There’s agitation, a coarsening, a seeking after superstition, a listlessness, a focus and glorification of rebellion, rage, and vengeance. The media is a purveyor of it and amplifier. Sowing discord, America is seeing a culture dichotomize. In Houston, stories of love, faith, and rebuilding, that stands in stark contrast to taking a knee, division, and political and cultural strife.
Do we think this is only of man? This is a spiritual problem with spiritual causes.
The apostle Paul concludes his letter to Ephesus this way in Ephesians 6:
11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places.
13Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
It’s time to talk about Satan. He’s been busy of late. It’s time to get back to church and it’s time for pastors and priests to remind believers where the real war is waging. Our culture’s problem is a spiritual problem. The solution is spiritual and can be found in Luke 4:18. The solutions come from above and then within. Whole, healed people don’t amass weapons and mow down their fellow man. Broken, blind, wretched people enslaved in mind carry out unspeakable evil.
Satan’s influence is as real as the mind who devises plans to murder and maim. It’s time to talk about Satan.