William Peter Blatty died this month. You dont know who that is? Regardless, Im fairly certain that youve heard of his most famous work. Blatty wrote both the novel and the screenplay for The Exorcist, experiencing a huge amount of success in both print and film if not the immediate name recognition he might have desired.
While we might take exception to some of the theology that lay behind The Exorcist, it pushed a number of ideas with which we can concur.
First of all, that story affirms that Satan is not only real but every bit as involved in human life as we will allow him to be. The first thing that a significant threat to humankind would like to do is convince us that it does not really exist. But it does.
Second, Satan has considerable power. A long way from a guy with a pointy tale and a pitchfork, our adversary is easily stronger than any unaided creature on the earth. Not only does he possess considerable power, but he has millennia of experience on which to draw in defeating us. Satan knows what makes us tick, and he uses that knowledge to gum up the works when able.
Third, the story demonstrates the Biblical truth that “the thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy. In the movie, the victim of possession is transformed from a beautiful girl full of potential to a hideous and vulgar creature, bent on desecrating anything good and holy.
Fourth, while the power of a human alone is puny, the power of a human aided by God is easily a match for the adversary. Hollywood likes to portray the powers of evil as greater than the powers of goodit makes more exciting movies perhapsbut the reality for Christians is greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Ive read the end of the book: We win!
Put it into action
What is your conception of Satan? Do you recognize him as a real and dangerous presence? How can you remain aware of that truth without obsessing on the wrong things?
Have you seen your God-inspired dreams opposed by direct demonic or demonic-inspired opposition? How would you recognize that when it appears?
Do you spend time each day focusing yourself on that truth of 1 John 4:4 so that you can make use of the power of God in you when you encounter adversity?
Mark is a longtime college English teacher who tries to follow Jesus better today than he did yesterday. Besides writing random observations, he is attempting to maintain and improve his 110-year-old dairy barn home and the land around it.
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