Just how broad are Satan’s shoulders anyhow? I’ve been chewing on that question for a few weeks since a close friend asked me what I thought about Satan. He noted that even though he knew me as close friend and a pastor that don’t talk about him much. I’m not one to sit in a team meeting and suggest that “we’re under attack and experiencing spiritual warfare.” I’m a“life-is-hard-so-what-do-you-expect?-Suck-it-up-and-slug-through-it” man. Don’t get me wrong I believe in Satan. But I don’t think about him a whole lot. But my friend, Dave, got me wondering—if I had to fit Old Scratch for a jacket, what size would I reach for?
I’m reluctant to give him too much credit. Maybe because I grew up on Mike Warnke's comedy. Warnke was a Christian comedian whose shtick was being a former warlock. His book “The Satan Sellers” was his tell-all memoir of his life as Satanic High Priest. Warnke’s takes of ritualistic sex and rape, alcoholism, drug dealing, sorcery and demon summoning held Evangelicals spellbound and fearful. That is, until Cornerstone Magazine exposed Warnke as fraud. Warnke attended a small Christian college during the time he claimed to be raising Hell. His coven of 1,500 followers couldn't be verified. His story fell apart
I’m still waiting for Cornerstone to expose Christendom for it’s addiction to fear. Warnke was broomed out only to be replaced by countless C.B.A. fiction products that sensationalize the power of darkness. Regrettably only a fraction of these books are actually filed as fiction.
There’s a part of me that wants to react to the fear mongering and size up Satan with a slender size 34 jacket. He’s one angel and can only be one place at a time. He’s dependant having the spotlight on him to cast a larger-than-life shadow on the lives of those he wants to control.
But the Love of Christ constrains me from dismissing Satan as a panty-waist. Or at least his revealed word does. He did lead that rebellion in Heaven. He manipulated Adam and Eve into unwittingly destroying paradise. Satan harassed Jesus in the wilderness. Peter warns us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. I read these verses and wonder if I shouldn’t select a larger jacket for the Devil. Say, a size 50, maybe in a nice herringbone.
During the days leading up to the inauguration I ran across an article about the Presidential limousine. The new Cadillac One weighs in at four tons, sports 5-inches of ballistic armor, run-flat tires, and a sealed leather interior that guards against environmental attack. I think we’d all agree that it wouldn’t matter what sized shell hit Cadillac One, it wouldn’t get through the armor. The most important factor in the equation isn’t the size of the bullet or the skill of the shooter, but the complete security provided by the armor.
The Apostle Paul wrote an extended metaphor of how being connected to Jesus Christ is like wearing the state of the art armor of his day. Jesus said he was the truth; he keeps us from tripping over our own half-baked ideas about God. Jesus’ work on the cross established the basis of our righteousness. He invites us to wrap his perfect moral standing before God like body armor. He stands between us and the shame that should rightfully cling to us. Jesus ended the war between us and God. He created a peace that gives the confidence to stand firm. A confident faith in Jesus allows us to settle in and absorb Satan’s worst. An awareness of the scope of the salvation that Jesus is accomplishing in us protects our imaginations from small and defeatist thoughts. The Bible is like a blade, able to slice to the heart of a matter.
Paul began his extended metaphor by telling the Ephesians that they are to “put the armor on.” The Ephesians weren’t to stress over Satan and whether or not he was personally behind their current struggles. They didn’t need to accurate guess Satan’s strength, or write countless books about the damage that he’s done throughout history. No, Paul told the church to remind themselves that they had a strong savior, Jesus. And Jesus offers to wrap himself around his people in the same way that Cadillac One envelopes our President.
So what size jacket does Satan require?
Who really cares?
We have our own protective clothing to consider. Satan, at best, is an already spent shell. The wounds in Jesus’ hands and wrists remind us that he’s already absorbed the best that Satan has to offer. His continual offer to us, each day, is to stand between us and our enemy.