“The devil made me do it!”

I can still see a bug-eyed Flip Wilson in my mind dressed as a very ugly woman standing back and enjoying the laughter of a TV studio audience after uttering that line. He would often say a lot setting up the use of that line. Other times he would act crazy and do some silly stunt to set up that line. I don’t even remember if that line was always funny but I do know that the audience would laugh.

That saying was on t-shirts and TV and stolen by other comedians looking to make people laugh. The devil had become a punch line and not a threat to anyone but Geraldine. The world laughed and the the devil laughed too.

Most people in this country don’t believe he laughs and I’m not sure I actually do either. Maybe he just feels all warm and fuzzy inside when he sees he has pulled off the ultimate deception. He doesn’t exist to most people in America.

Is it a problem if we choose to not believe in Satan? I know it is for me. The biggest problem is that if I don’t believe Satan is a real being, then I have to discard much of what the Bible says. That would include many of the words of Jesus himself. Could the Messiah have been mistaken about Satan? What else might he be mistaken about?

I know that Satan exists for the very reasons that many feel he doesn’t exist. He is a liar and is in opposition to what God is and what God stands for.

John 8:44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Why do so many want to discount the words of Jesus here? Why would they want to believe in the creator and all that is good but choose to deny the existence of another power that is evil and opposes God?  It is because he is already doing what he has set out to do. He has limited the power of God’s Word by beginning its dismantling in our minds and fracturing our faith. He is taking away our desire to prepare to deal with him by convincing us that there is nothing to prepare for.

So day after day, people that claim to know God in some way, shape or form trudge off to battle without choosing to admit there is a battle in the first place.

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.

God is truth and his Word is truth and in order to stand up against the one that would love to convince me that he doesn’t exist I have to embrace truth. I have to recognize that sometimes I am not the only problem in my life. Sometimes I have help being the problem.

I used to frequently watch two boys play together. One would get on his bicycle and the other would build rickety ramps and set up stunts that were destined to fail. The builder of the not-so-well constructed ramps would then sit back with his video camera and record all the carnage as his buddy would inevitably crash and mildly injure himself on his doomed attempt to emulate Evel Knievel.

I’m afraid I’ve unwittingly made Satan the playmate mom told me to stay away from rather than making him my adversary. I’ve thought it was all harmless fun rather than realize that he isn’t something to be toyed with.

John 10:10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Satan is real and he isn’t hanging around to be the kid that gets me into trouble once in a while by convincing me to have a little more fun. He is dangerous and sticking my head in the sand and pretending he is a myth or a symbolic creation isn’t going to do a single thing to shackle him.

I need to be prepared for victory over this adversary. Yes, Satan is real and his ultimate outcome is inevitable. We can win. Much of the beatdown that we take at the hands of this sneaky snake is completely unnecessary. Step one is to believe God’s truth in his Word, all of it, and take advantage of the tools that God gives to deal with the adversary.

James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

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