Waiter, there’s a demon in my soup

My friend is really caught up in spiritual warfare, attributing every bad thing that happens to the devil. I’m concerned she’s fallen into ungodly superstition, while she accuses me of ungodly disbelief ! Who’s right?

Needing an arbitrator,

Ima Googler*

Dear Ima,

I tend to side with C S Lewis, there are two errors people fall into, thinking the devil doesn’t exist (or has no power and isn’t out to get us), and attributing to him more power than he actually has (being overly scared of and focused on) and tend to think C S Lewis was right that the enemy himself has no preference which error we slip into.

That said, when times are hard, it can be more beneficial to look for God in the situation than to focus on the enemy’s movements. But do be cautious about sneering at demonic warfare. The devil may not be as powerful as many of us give him credit, but he does hate you and he is out to get you. We are most blessed to have one powerful God on our side, though. If he is for us, who can stand against us?

So many debate whether some bad thing that happened is the result of spiritual or physical causes. That’s usually a false dichotomy.

There is a law of sowing and reaping. Diabetes, for instance, isn’t caused by the demon of diabetes, it’s caused by genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle (eating the wrong foods and not getting enough exercise). The devil, however, does tempt us to eat too much and exercise too little so we’ll become obese and out of shape and hence less effective for Christ’s kingdom. The devil will attempt to exploit every spiritual and, yes, physical weakness we have to advance his agenda. So the relationship between the spirit and the physical is complex and rather codependent. The question, “is this a physical problem or a spiritual problem?” often is like asking, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Incidentally, I am not fond of spiritual warfare novels that portray there as being any real contest in order to make it interesting.

In Christ’s Love,

Andrea Graham


*Ima’s columns are based loosely on conversations with various people I know, or issues I happen to know people are asking Google for help with.