Christians believe in the devil. We’re meant to, at least. But we can fall into extremes when thinking about him. Either he’s not there at all (and a bit of a joke), or he’s everywhere – to blame for our ingrowing toenails and lost socks.
However we think of him, the devil is there and he’s deadly serious. He’s there when we lose our temper and lash out. He’s there when depression sucks us down and we feel we can’t go on. He’s there when the computer crashes and the dog howls and the test results are positive and the porridge spills. He’s not the reason we lose our temper or the depression or the dog or the computer. But he’s looking for a way in and he’ll use anything he can.
Revelation 12 calls Satan “the accuser of the brothers and sisters”. And this is not a hobby for him – he’s a professional, slandering us day and night, 24-7. I don’t know the shape of the lies he’s telling you. But I do know he’s telling them.
Perhaps they were planted years ago; but they still feel fresh. Perhaps his words are like slippers; familiar, even comfortable. Or perhaps they’re like shards of glass: broken; useless; unclean; unloved.
Smooth words: “Do whatever you want, it’s no big deal.”
Harsh words: “You’ve gone beyond the pale. There’s no way back.”
We cannot win this war of words by ourselves. But Revelation 12 shows us how our words can be part of his defeat:
They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11)
Here’s a two-fold response to the accuser. First, we trust in the blood of Jesus. We tell Satan, “All you say about me is true – and worse. But at the cross, Jesus has taken it. He has washed me clean (1 John 1:7).”
Satan wants to silence us with accusations, shame and sin. But as we point to the forgiveness and redemption of Jesus, we can begin to take part in that second part of overcoming: the word of our testimony.
As we speak the truth of our stories — all that is best and worst about us, all that is weak and proud and ashamed and confused — then, we overcome the enemy. By the blood of Jesus and with the words of our testimony, we silence him.