In 1977, Keith Green came out with a song that gave a satirical voice to the devil. Presumably in this song, Satan sings with glee about how no one believes he is real. Here are a few of those lyrics:
Oh, my job keeps getting easier
As time keeps slipping away
I can imitate the brightest light
And make the night look just like day
I put some truth in every lie
To tickle itching ears
You know I’m drawing people just like flies
‘Cause they like what they hear…
I used to have to sneak around
But now they just open their doors
You know, no one’s watching for my tricks
Because no one believes in me anymore.
These sentiments are not original with Keith Green. Thirty-five years earlier, in 1942, C.S. Lewis published The Screwtape Letters describing how a senior demon mentors a junior tempter in the craft of deception. Hundreds of years before that, the Gospel of John records Jesus saying that when the devil lies, “he speaks his native language, for he is the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Are we still being deceived today, or has the devil gone away? This is not a question that we often talk about on Sunday morning. We’d rather focus on the positive aspects of faith, such as love and grace. To be sure, these things are more productive and eternally more important. Still, I think it is clear that we dare not ignore the impetus of evil that is around us.
We need not be afraid of Satan. The mighty power of God and his amazing victory in the cross has ultimately set us free from the pain and sting of death. (If you don’t believe me, check out your Bible and ask Paul, 1 Cor. 15:54-55). Still, we are on this side of Jesus’ return and final victory. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our enemy is still a dangerous adversary while we are alive in the flesh. It is wise to not fall into the error of ignoring his existence so we can minimize his influence in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Praise be to God for the power of his Spirit! As 1 John 4:4 reminds us, greater is the one who is in us than the one who is in the world.