What ever happened to the devil?

At a camp planning meeting a while ago, I suggested that the devil might go alongside a list of people who is thought to have control in the world. Gordon Brown, George Dubya Bush, Osama Bin Laden and the British Police were other likely candidates. One planning group member said “do we really want to mention the devil? We don’t want to upset the kids.”

Not upsetting the kids is a fair concern, but it seems we talk so little of the devil today that we’re frightened to speak of him at all. I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone speak from the pulpit about the devil. I don’t often mention him myself. There is the fear, perhaps, of being thought of as irrational or over spiritual, slightly loony-fringe.

William Still had a phrase he used frequently in the pulpit, “keep your eyes fixed on Jesus but make sure the devil’s in your peripheral vision. Keep Satan in the corner of your eye.” That seems about the right balance, to stop the devil taking centre stage but being aware of his work and making others aware of his presence. It seems to me that for most Christians today, the devil has vanished from our vision and he’s delighted to be able to work undetected.

Familiar gospel outlines might play a part in this. Two Ways to Live, for example, usefully over simplifies the gospel but it can also shape the way we speak about salvation. “We need to be saved from the righteous judgement of God” is true but is less than half the story. If we repeat the phrase enough times, however, it is soon all we say.

What else does Jesus save us from? Surely, ourselves, the destructive power of sin in our life and from the clutches and oppression of the devil:

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8

So, bring back the devil! Don’t let him work undetected.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
This entry was posted in Transforming hatred of Sin and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What ever happened to the devil?

  1. Simon Young says:

    Neil, I would agree with you: we need to be aware of the devil, but we mustn’t see the devil in everything. Yes he is roaming around like a roaring lion but he is defeated due to Jesus’ death on the cross. And how do we know this? Jesus’ resurrection proves it (as the Bible makes plain). Therefore the balance is: lets teach about the devil but lets not focus on him.

  2. david1963 says:

    Addiction and the Devil!
    The term “addiction” is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive physical dependence or psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction, video game addiction, crime, alcoholism, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, pornography addiction, etc.

    Addiction…..is…a……ScArY word with a scary “control-meaning”….People believe this word to be true so it is to them. But! Do we really become addicted to anything or do we just “think” we are?

    For anyone who has ever been addicted to anything the “addictive-thought” (that results in the action), is one of fear just prior to becoming “OK” to “DO-IT”.

    The reason we “think” we become addicted is because we know that what “we want” (Ego/Devil), to do is not what (God) the “Father” wants us to do and therefore we know that the “addiction” is a lie. Why? Because the Devil is a liar and God is the truth. We become no longer addicted when we “listen” to the “Father” (thoughts), who brings us love and we Do-Not listen to the “Devil” (thoughts), “He” who only comes to STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY.

    When you understand that you NEVER have to think a thought you do not Want TO “think” ever again! Your life begins to become supernatural and you feel Born Again! When we are not the watcher at the door of our thoughts and we do not bind the strongman, our life is not being lived in Salvation! We are still in and of the world and not free from it’s lies and distortions.

    The first thought is one of O-NO! That is the “Father” who knows best, advising us do not “think” this way. Then the next thought, after we have disregarded the “Father’s” warning is how you (Ego/Devil), will “feel” while doing what you (Ego/Devil), “think” you (Ego/Devil), are addicted to.

    Addiction, when brought to the “Father”, is a lie, plain and simple.

    Remember; “Addiction was whispered into Eve’s ear and the resulting “thoughts” were FEAR and SEPARATION, separation from the “Father” because he does not live in FEAR!

    Never fear the Devil and his angels they can “DO NADA!”



    • neilrobbie says:

      Hi David, welcome to TG. It seems to me that you are along the right lines about believers being freed from addiction. Where does the work of Jesus fit into your understanding of how people are set free? Neil

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