So, I was at our local Mardel (it's basically a "Wal*Mart for Jesus") and I came across this puppet of what is presumably Satan. It was next to the plush Noah and the squeaky Whale from the Jonah story.
Don't worry, I'm not going to go into the theologcial significance of a plush Noah or a squeaky Whale, but it did get me thinking about Satan. I come from a traditional Protestant background - so for you charismatics out there reading this, it's going to be no news to you. But Satan is real. Demons are real. And Satan uses people to do his work, just as God uses people to do his work.
Baptists tend to downplay the deceptive nature of Satan - or for that matter, the nature of Satan altogether. We portray him as an ugly red creature with horns and a pitchfork. But if he was made by God like everything else, he was made beautiful. And this allows him to more easily deceive us. Satan does not deceive us by ugly, he deceives us by attraction. Satan's deception is in the "pretty" girl (for guys) in front of you at the gym, he is in the words you shout at the guy who cut you off in traffic, he is in the desire to always be right. This is Satan - things that make us think we'll feel good if we...
This is Satan.
He is not the awkward-looking puppet with horns, but the temptations that work to draw us away from God's plan. I don't believe that Satan can directly attack the actual work that God does in people, so he has to attack around it. He works from the outside-in to disrupt the work of God. He does this often through temptations - things to entice us away from God's plan. Recognizing this is the first step in combatting it. We must understand that God's plan is truly and wholly fulfilled by the faithful. And while none of us are faithfull all the time, we should strive for such actions. We should pray for discernment to see these temptations of Satan like a road flare - and then work to avoid them by changing our understanding of Satan as a red plush puppet with two horns.