The first time I saw the film The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey’s classic line, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” stood out to me because it made little sense at the time. Though this movie hit theaters long before the character Loki, Thor’s villainous brother, hit the big screen, I suppose I had always pictured the devil to be similar in nature. A scheming, conniving, second rate king who wanted worldwide recognition and all to bow down to his glory. Many Christians who of course believe in the devil like to picture him as a powerless arrogant, buffoon while non-Christians of course don’t believe in him anyway which as it turns out is exactly what the devil wants.
If you believe in the devil then he by all means wants you to underestimate him. Many religious leaders have convinced us that Satan is so inept at what he does that we unknowingly grow lazy in our faith until the old wolf blows our straw house down. “That silly, stupid, Satan!” I have heard some regard him as, seduces us into a reckless way of thinking and this is a trap by the devil to convince you to let your guard down.
Now of course non-Christians worry over him less because Satan after all to them isn’t real. Well that manner of thinking is just fine with the devil too. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to only kill, steal and destroy….” Do thieves, murderers, rapists, arsonists, etc. announce their presence before they come calling? Do they wear shirts that say, “Hi I steal jewelry and prescription medicine,” or “I like watching things burn,”? Of course not or else we would all be on guard in their presence. If the world had no thieves or at least didn’t believe they existed, we would all leave our doors unlocked and our children unattended. The thief’s greatest weapon is anonymity. If you don’t know they are a thief then you are less likely to protect yourself against them.
If a clever human is able to sneak into a bank or heist a plane in mid-air, how much more could one of God’s angels accomplish if your doors remain unsecured? Sure with the power of Christ you can defeat the devil even though he currently is Prince of this World. You can beat back his temptations, his storms and his disease. Your power though is in God’s word and left unspoken you have no offense against an unseen enemy in whom you don’t believe.
Everyday we poison our bodies with substances we deem either in hope or ignorance to be harmless but ones which no doubt will be classified by scientists as harmful years from now. Just as smoking or even sugar is killing us, years ago we did nothing to protect ourselves because we had no clue they could harm us. Despite the irrefutable Biblical research handed down to us thousands of years ago and preached the world over, we continue to allow Satan’s poison into our homes, marriages, schools, workplaces, etc. Why?! Because the devil is so cunning he has convinced more and more everyday that there is no monster and that we are fit to rule ourselves. Sadly for us the devil wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Wait until they pass from this earth,” he sneers from his throne in hell, “then they will truly know who they have served their whole lives.”
Yes, perhaps the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was in convincing the world he didn’t exist and maybe his second greatest is in convincing us that God too doesn’t exist. Maybe the devil isn’t really all that stupid but neither must we also be.