The Devil is true. This is what I have wanted to say many times in Testimony Meeting. But I’m sure before I got the sentence out of my mouth the Bishop would be dragging me away from the podium.
Even though we believe in Satan, he is usually just a footnote added to most talks and lessons. Nobody gets assigned “Lucifer” as a topic for Sacrament Meeting. Although Satan is discussed at the temple, most people in the church—especially the younger demographic—are educated about Satan via Hollywood. Lucifer has become nothing more than a ghost story to many people.
Occasionally someone at church will bring up C.S. Lewis’ excellent book The Screwtape Letters. Or some sweet old lady will dust off that silly quote, “the Devil isn’t smart, he just has a lot of experience.” Sadly, the Devil is smart. Very smart. And it is naïve and ignorant to assume that we can float along in life without having to face off against Satan.
This is what I would like people, especially the younger ones, to know: the Devil is real and powerful and nothing but evil. He has been around a long time and is a cunning expert at getting people to believe what he wants. He can convince you that red is blue and that up is down. And he can do so without you realizing what has happened until you, like the scriptures say, are wrapped up entirely in flaxen cords on your way down a terrible path.
But this doesn’t happen because you put on a cursed amulet or moved into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The Devil can’t take over your life without you letting him. If you think about it, our daily decisions and just about everything we do either invite the Lord or the Devil into our lives.
That feels so histrionic to say; that we are inviting Satan into our lives every time we criticize someone, or flirt with a person we aren’t married to, or keep the extra change that the grocery store clerk gave us. I mean, come on! Spare me the fire and brimstone!
But the Devil is real. And I don’t know how else to say it. Yes, it is melodramatic. I guess all of religion is melodramatic. This is peoples’ souls we’re talking about here; the subject deserves some melodrama.
It is a scary topic and one that people don’t want to come right out and talk about. But I think that’s foolish. In every story and movie where there is a foe to be fought, the protagonists must first know the enemy in order to defeat him.
What have you learned that has helped you in your fight against the enemy? How are we to defeat Satan?