As a result of Rick Santorum’s comment about Satan last week, I googled to see if Americans believe in Satan; I was surprised that most do! I feel the subject warrants further comment. Believing Satan exists doesn’t mean people believe he is a present, active, personal reality. [Of course when we speak of Satan, we mean his demons that are present in this world: Satan is not, after all, omnipresent.] Then I wondered how many born-again believers really believe in spiritual beings who are strategically at work against them (2 Cor. 10:5; Eph. 6:11).
While Satan does have a certain amount of control in the world (1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4), as Spirit-filled believers we are told to resist him, with the assurance that he will flee (James 4:1; 1 Pe. 5:9). But if we do not, our sin gives Satan further access to us through our thoughts and feelings. For example, if we get angry, we “give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:27), or if we are unforgiving, the devil can “take advantage of us” (2 Cor. 2:11).
Paul warns us not to be ignorant of these schemes (2 Cor.2:11). Though his strategy includes things of the world, i.e., media and entertainment, they also include personalized strategies, using our uncrucified flesh to sabotage us. Peter says "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pe. 5:8). That said, no one can say the 'devil made me do it,' but that doesn't mean he's not in the details.