According to George Barna, 60% of evangelical Christians believe the devil is only symbolic. It’s why we see attempts to explain away acts of evil in purely sociological or psychological terms. We’re reluctant to classify anything as “evil”.
Many Christians are fond of C.S. Lewis. Children love to read The Chronicles of Narnia. Many people may not know that Lewis abandoned his Christian faith at age 13 and lived as an atheist well into adulthood.
While teaching at Oxford University, he became friends with JRR Tolkien who helped lead him back to faith.
This one-time atheist once wrote these words: “Satan hails the skeptic and the superstitious alike.”
Some of you are superstitious when it comes to the Devil. You find a demon under every rock. “I ran out of gas. There must be a demon in my gas tank.” No, you didn’t go to the gas station when you should have.
You also don’t need to be the skeptic either. You need to be informed.
The devil wants you to believe he isn’t really real, just like a good thief doesn’t want you to know he is there. That’s the point. You need to know there’s a thief and he’s not symbolic – he’s real.
You need to know the truth. Don’t think if you leave him alone he will leave you alone.
One of his favorite schemes is to get people to believe a lie or half-truth, knowing either one will keep them from the real truth.
This battle happens in the mind.
2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:2-5
What is a stronghold? It’s something that has a STRONG hold on you. It’s that part of your life that is the hardest to defeat.
In original language, there were two basic definitions of a stronghold:
1. A prisoner locked up by deception.
2. Behavior based on something that isn’t true.
A stronghold is the result of the bad programming that we allow into our lives.
The only way to defeat a stronghold is to replace the bad programming with the truth.