1 Peter 5:8-9
Do You Believe in the Devil?…
Sandwiched between Peter’s comforting words, he warns us about the devil:
“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.” -1 Peter 5:8-9, NAB
One of the scariest things about terrorists is that you often do no know who they are. No one looks like a terrorist. They do not wear a uniform or patch on their sleeve. Generally, they hide in plain sight. The only thing worse than an enemy that you can see is the enemy you can’t see. It is for that very reason that the devil likes to hide in plain sight. He is the original terrorist.
The same people that cannot see Christ’s work in the world are also the ones who deny the existence of the devil. Deny him if you want, but that does not make him exist any less. In fact, he probably prefers if you do not believe in him. How can you fight an enemy that you do not think exists?
What is the Church’s stance on the devil? Well, would there be exorcism if there was nothing to be exorcised from in the first place? Yet, as much as we should fear being possessed by the devil or some other demon, many make it much easier than that. Instead of the devil forcing his way in through possession, they freely give their lives over to his will by seeking to fill their every worldly desire.
We must be aware of the devil at work around us. He will use every means he can to overthrow God’s power here on earth, and he is pretty good at it. One look at our culture can show you that. If you cannot see the devil’s handiwork all over the place, then you choose not to see it.
Finally, I am reminded of some dialogue from the movie Constantine. I am not going to debate the theological accuracy of the movie, but in one scene, it makes a good point. In the movie, Constantine is having a conversation with a woman who doubts the existence of the supernatural. She says to him, “I don’t believe in the devil.” His response, “You should; he believes in you.“
After all of this talk about the devil, I feel that it is only right to close with a prayer:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.