ODJ: the devil’s roar

June 16, 2015 

READ: Revelation 12:1-18 

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels (v.7).

A Protestant denomination is proposing a new liturgy for christenings. The old ceremony asked parents and godparents two questions: “Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?” and “Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?” The new liturgy summarises both in one question: “Do you reject evil, in all its many forms and all its empty promises?”

The absence of “the devil” would have bothered C. S. Lewis. The well-known author wrote The Screwtape Letters to alert Christians to the reality of Satan. The demon Screwtape encourages his nephew to keep his human subject sceptical of his existence. “If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that . . . he therefore cannot believe in you.”

Rather than downplay Satan’s existence, it’s good to remember two facts:

• Satan is our “great enemy” (1 Peter 5:8). John symbolically describes him as “a large red dragon” whose “tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky” and who tried to kill Jesus from the moment He was born (Revelation 12:3-4). No creature is more powerful or full of hate.

• Satan is not stronger than Jesus. Jesus destroyed Satan and his power when He died and rose again (Colossians 2:15). The serpent that accuses us before God has been kicked out of heaven. He’s been defeated “by the blood of the Lamb” and will soon be “thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur” (Revelation 12:11, 20:10).

Don’t be intimidated by the devil’s roar (1 Peter 5:8). Use his every growl as an excuse to rush into Jesus’ arms. Satan is real, but he can’t touch you there.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: John 1:19-34

Read Daniel 10:1–11:1 to learn about the unseen battles in the spirit world. 
Are you tempted more to overstate or to minimise the threat of Satan? How can you believe in his existence without cowering in fear?