According to Christian researcher George Barna (www.barna.org), only 27% of all adults and 40% of Christians believe that Satan is real. This means that people don’t take him seriously. Satan is depicted as a fallen angel in the Bible. He is depicted as a real force every place that he appears. He is not simply a symbol of evil, he is the father of lies and is a master deceiver.
Satan is the one who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was he who tempted Jesus in the desert, even twisting scripture in an attempt to get his way. And it is Satan who will ultimately be thrown into hell when the Day of Judgment arrives.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us this about Satan: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Satan would like nothing more than for us to disregard his existence.
Why does this make a difference whether Satan is real or symbolic? Everyone is willing to acknowledge that there is evil in the world today. The difference is whether it is just something that happens because of sinful people, more or less as a fact of life that we will encounter evil, or if it is an organized force. The fact that Satan is real means that he is working to destroy all those who follow God.
Every Christian must deal with three forces that cause them to sin – the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world is full of sinful people who tell us to be like them. The flesh is our own sinful nature that we battle with, even with the help of the Holy Spirit. And Satan whispers deceptions in our ear that we can get away with our sin and that it won’t hurt anyone.
Satan is not the only reason that we sin. It is in our very nature since the fall of Adam and Eve. But Satan is real and wants us to fail and wants us to turn our backs on God. He wants us to live life our own way and forget about worshipping our loving Creator.