3 Myths About the Devil
Yesterday’s sermon on spiritual warfare got me thinking about some of the myths about the devil that I’ve heard over the years.
The devil can hear you. I’ve often heard people recount conversations they’ve had with the devil—and I’m usually a bit suspicious of these claims. Although Satan is a powerful fallen angel, he is not omniscient or omnipresent. As a created being, he is limited by time and space just like you and I are. Satan may dispatch agents to observe your actions and words and report back to him, but attempting to speak to him, command him, personally debate with him, etc. is a fruitless enterprise.
Satan wants you miserable. From Satan’s perspective, unhappy, troubled, impoverished people have this unsavory habit of seeking God for solace. The devil’s priority is simultaneously your temporary comfort and your eternal torment. Consider this instruction from C.S. Lewis’s demon, Screwtape, to his protege: “Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home on Earth, which is just what we want.”
You have authority over Satan. While it is enjoyable to imagine us smashing the devil, it is not something that is in our capacity or authority. Scripture provides no precedent for direct battle with Satan beyond resisting him by submitting to God (James 4:7). Jesus rebuked the disciples for gloating about their success in expelling demons (Luke 10:20). Paul notes that Satan will be crushed under our feet—but that it is God who will do the crushing (Romans 16:20).
Are there other myths about the devil that you’ve encountered?