The Baptist Beacon
Dueling With The Devil
by Elder Lynn Stapleton
A sixteenth century magician named Faust amazed his German audiences with fantastic magical tricks and outrageous boastings. Faust claimed to be in league with the devil. Later that century an anonymous author published a book about Faust in which Faust supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for magic powers.
This amazing story has been told and retold in theater, film, and music. The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus is a popular tale for stage and opera. The country singer/musician, Charlie Daniels employed a similar theme in his hit song, Devil Went Down to Georgia. The film Crossroads portrayed a blues guitarist dueling with the devil to be the best. On the surface these stories and songs are entertaining, but beyond their entertainment value lies a frightening message. Can man really possess the powers of the devil and can man possibly duel with the devil and win?
Man's interest in the supernatural and his fascination with the spirit world has led many to believe that they can be the recipient of the Devil's power. There is evidence to support that devil worship is being practiced today. Some may not take Satanism and the occult seriously, but any involvement with what the Bible condemns as evil is not wise. In Matthew chapter four Satan tempted Jesus with all the kingdoms and the riches of the world. Satan promised he would give them to the Lord if Jesus would just fall down and worship him. If Satan is so bold to tempt Christ it would be foolish for man to believe he would not tempt him also.
Many people believe the Devil is real and that he is the source of all that is evil, but too many people seem to believe they can duel with the Devil and win. Numerous Bible references of this evil creature demonstrate that he is subtle, powerful, and wicked beyond anything we can imagine. In I Peter 5:8 Peter warns us to be sober and vigilant because the devil like a roaring lion seeks to devour us. In Ephesians 6 Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the armor of light that we may be able to withstand the devil's fiery darts of deception. James 4:7 says, Resist the devil and he will flee from you. But James says we must first submit to God. Only by drawing near to God can we hope to overcome this powerful adversary.
For some people, the devil or Satan is just a fictitious character in another fairy tale story. Many believe he was invented by primitive, ignorant people to explain the origin of evil. It is difficult for a highly educated and sophisticated people to believe there really is such a creature as the devil. This false belief may be Satan's greatest advantage. The more the myths about Faust and others who have sold their souls to the devil and won are told and retold, the more people come to believe that Satan is just a myth.
Satan is not a myth. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was tempted by him in the wilderness, assaulted by him in His personal ministry, and wounded by him at the cross. But thank God Christ overcame the Devil for us and He will at last cast the Devil into the bottomless pit.
Don't be tempted by Satan's alluring invitations nor deceived into thinking you can do battle with this great adversary on your own. The Devil is far greater in power and intelligence than mortal men. He has the benefit of many thousands of years of experience. He must surely know human nature better than humans do. He is the Arch Deceiver. He is Apollyon the Destroyer. He is that old serpent that deceived Eve in the beginning. Satan is alive and well. Submit to God and constantly draw near to Him, and then you shall be able to withstand Satan's fiery darts.