When my mother was eighty-seven, she called me asking my opinion about some counsel she had received from some well meaning Christian friends. They told her that the Devil was always present, always beside her, always trying to make her fall. Near the point of tears, she asked if that was true. A widow for thirty-three years, the thought of the Devil constantly beside her, testing her, only served to deepen her sense of loneliness and fear.
I was glad to reassure her that her friends, as well meaning as they were, got it wrong. The Bible does not teach that the Devil is present everywhere. Nor does it teach that the Devil is always standing beside us tempting us. In the last days before her death at eighty-nine she demonstrated complete confidence in God's presence and His promises.
When Jesus was tempted for forty days in the wilderness the Bible clearly states that after the temptation the Devil left him. If the Devil left Jesus, he also leaves us. He cannot remain constantly by our side tempting us. The Bible also says, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” If he has fled, he cannot remain by your side.
Unlike our Adversary, Jesus is always with us. He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Giving comfort to followers of Christ, Paul stated, “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.”
Of course, not everyone believes the Devil is real. But, there is a lot out there about the Devil. He shows up in books, movies and videos. To show just how confused people are about the Devil, a nation-wide survey conducted by the Barna Group indicated that a minority of Christians believe Satan is a personal being, but a majority of Christians believe a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces such as demons.
No one would argue with the fact that there is enormous evil in the world. Our news reports are filled daily with murders, thefts and atrocities both local and global. The recent horrific killings in Aurora at the Dark Knight premier is a case in point.
The Bible teaches that the Devil is a real, personal being, our Adversary that seeks our destruction. (1 Peter 5:8). But the Bible also teaches that the Devil is a defeated being. (Revelation 20:10).
We need not fear the Devil or all his demons. We need not live our lives in fear of the evil and violence that is so evident in our world. We can live with confidence. If God be for us, who can be against us?