Resisting the Devil
by Burk Parsons
The nineteenth century French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote that “the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist.” In the providence of God, the Devil has been quite successful in persuading his followers that he doesn’t exist. But we who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ know all too well that he does, indeed, exist, as we wrestle daily against our enemy and the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, and spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12).
Interestingly, and according to God’s sovereign plan, the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they might not see the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). The implication is that in having blinded their minds, the Devil’s primary work is focused on his enemy and all His followers. Before our conversion, the Devil was not our enemy, he was our father (John 8:44). At conversion, we gained Christ and, thus, we gained His enemy — Satan himself and all his junior demons. While we know that Satan and his demons can neither indwell believers nor control our minds, we also know that under the sovereign oversight of God they can have great, albeit destructive, influence. We see this throughout Scripture, most vividly in Job’s life and in the lives of Jesus and His apostles. Nevertheless, God, being sovereign over the ends as well as the means to those ends, has called us in His wisdom to “resist the devil” (James 4:7), who “disguises himself as an angel of light” and whose servants “disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:13–15).
When reflecting on the The Screwtape Letters, in which the senior demon, Screwtape, wrote letters to his trainee, Wormwood, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment.” While this sort of fictional literature is somewhat intriguing to write, it is by no means amusing. In the spirit of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, we offer twenty similar letters written from the perspective of a senior demon to a junior demon on issues ranging from racism to cynicism, legalism to criticism.
The chief aim of these letters is to help Christians “escape the snare of the devil” (2 Tim. 2:26) and to become more keenly aware of our enemy’s deceitful schemes so that we would neither be “outwitted by Satan,” nor “ignorant of his designs” (2 Cor. 2:11), but instead be more “watchful” as he “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour”(1 Peter 5:8), knowing that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.