I’ve been thinking about the devil alot lately. Once in a while you know, it’s good to remind yourself of his mission statement – steal, kill, destroy. Our adversary has lots of job security, he has been at his job for a while you see?
Like CS Lewis would say in screw tape letters, Christians often face two extremes, we are either taking the devil too seriously or we are dismissing him entirely.
In Africa, the later is not commonplace, rather, our largely animist societies sometimes cause us to see the devil in almost everything.
And so, to aim for a balance, we must let the New Testament speak to us. Because our enemy would prefer to keep our understanding of him ambiguous, wouldn’t he?
He baits once faithful-husbands and drags them onshore with the delight of adultery as a young family dissipates.
In the same manner he deceived our predecessor Eve, he whispers to young women, sometimes concerning body image and sexuality, and after his argument has sank, he leans back to watch them self-destruct.
For every sexual sin, there are billions throughout centuries who were once baited with the same hook, for every lustful gaze, somebody was deceived the same way in 1966, for every corrupt dealing, a certain employee still regrets in his retirement.
Just like in Proverbs, our enemy ensnares a young naive young adult into believing a one night stand won’t cost much. An episode that ends up in the counseling room with probably a nervous lab attendant advising.
On the other hand, we must not obsess over the devil.
And so, when disease and calamity attack, we remind ourselves that our suffering is no longer eternal, this world is not home, unlike Job’s wife, we don’t tell folks to curse God and die” we trust his providence.
When funerals wreck and eviction letters arrive, we don’t quickly point to the devil but trust that all things are working for our (ultimate) good.
When bystanders ask about our suffering, just like they did with Jesus,
who sinned, him or his forefathers? We are safe to understand like he did, this so that the glory of God may be shown.
When Banks start calling or when we walk out of the doctor’s room, the cashiers office, we like Job remember, naked we came, naked we shall depart, blessed be the name of The Lord.
In understanding our adversary, the devil would like us to fall in either extreme, obsession or complacency, because he is a lair from the beginning, with centuries of experience.