This morning my closest group of friends and I were lamenting the evil in this world and the ways it hurts people we shepherd and love. As were texting one another and praying for these people, it got rethinking about the different views of evil among Christians. I’m not about to try to understand all of the theories of evil, they all have strengths and weaknesses. But there’s one that I feel puts Christians at risk–the one that tells us not to be afraid of the devil.
To be certain, it’s not healthy when Christians live in freezing fear of the devil, but we should have a sobering respect for Jesus’ most personal enemy.
A few years ago I asked a seasoned, second generation missionary statesman from Africa to speak to my emerging leaders’ discipleship/mentoring group.
The first question I asked was the last we would have time for: “Herb,” I asked as he stood in front of twelve of the most devoted disciples in our church, “Here is the future of Church of the Open Door. What is the one insight from all of your time planting churches and making disciples among the tribal groups of Africa that you feel is the most significant lesson these young men need to learn?”
He didn’t hesitate:
“The devil is real!”
For the next hour he told stories of spiritual warfare, demonic oppression, and personal battles with the forces of evil.
And then, he closed with this ominous warning:
“Most of the young missionaries arriving in Africa today don’t want to talk about or even think about the devil. But that’s their undoing. I don’t care what the Bible School and Seminary professors are saying about the reality of the devil. I’m telling you that the devil is real, and if you don’t get that, he’ll get you. He hates you; he hates your family, and he’s out to get you.”
The devil is real. Still not convinced? Consider this:
Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:1-11; John 12:31; Revelation 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:11-18.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Question: Do you feel you know enough about prophecy to give you confidence that Jesus is going to win?