"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them." C.S. Lewis
In viewing our culture as a whole, I agree with Lewis's assessment. However, among Bible- believing Christians it is difficult to deny the existence of Satan and his demons, as the Scriptures are full of references pertaining to the reality of them. (Examples at end of post, from: Religious Tolerance .Org)
My personal experience in evangelical circles is having ones give them too much power, or having ones give them too little. As Lewis says, "they themselves (the demons) are equally pleased by both errors." I have also met ones as Lewis describes as having an "unhealthy and excessive" interest in them. If we are obsessed with Satan, we can not have our minds "stayed on Christ". This leads to immobilizing fear. Though we are to be aware of the battle raging around us so that we are equipped to fight, Christ wants our hearts and minds on things above.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee." Isaiah 26:3
I see ones giving them too much power when they seem to have the attitude that "the devil made them do it," instead of taking responsibility for their own sin. Satan does not have the power to force us to sin. Some believe Satan is omnipresent, which is false! Although he has hosts of demons at his disposal, only The Living and True God is omnipresent. And the Living and True God has legions of angles encamped around us!
As for my own part, I have fallen into both camps. Nevertheless, the majority of my life I fell off the side of giving them too little regard. In fact, when people would mention that some of the bizarre health problems I was experiencing could have elements of spiritual warfare, the wall went up. I was a Reformed Presbyterian! I was offended that they would insinuate that Satan had that kind of power over my body. I belong to Christ! True, the devil has no power except for what God allows, yet Scripture shows he is given permission to buffet us at times, for our good and for God's glory.
"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-- to keep me from exalting myself!" (Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7)
I plan to teach more on this subject in the coming weeks. How about you? Do you tend to give Satan too much regard, or too little? Let's pray for biblical balance, as Satan doesn't care which side we fall off....as long as we fall!
(Scripture references to Satan below.)
the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4&Genesis 3:14)
Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)
the adversary playing the role of prosecuting attorney in a heavenly court with God and the angels (Job 1:6&Zechariah 3:1-2&1 Peter 5:8)
as the devil (from the Greek "diabolos" which means "slanderer"), the tempter of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-3, Luke 4:2)
the prince of the demons, Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:15)
unclean spirit (Matthew 12:43)
the evil one (Matthew 13:19&1 John 2:13)
the author of all evil (Luke 10:19)
a murderer and the father of lies (John 8:44)
the prince of this world (John 12:31&14:30&16:11)
a demon able to enter into a human body (John 13:27)
god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)
prince of the powers of the air, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2)
power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
an adversary, like a roaring lion who walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)
the angel of the abyss, named Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek (Revelation 9:11)
a great red dragon (Revelation 12:3& 12:9& 20:2)
the accuser of our brethren who accuses Christians before God day and night (Revelation 12:10)
the dragon, the old serpent (Revelation 20:2)