Max Lucado, Christian Author

(featured image by Mark Ralston, Getty Images)

The Las Vegas mass murders leave us reeling; struggling to make sense of such tragedy. Where the Bible may not tell us the why of the tragedies, it is quick to tell us who.

Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world (Ephesians 6:12 NCV).

The Bible names a real and present foe of our faith: the devil. He is not just a symbol for evil, he is the source of evil. He doesn’t live in myths and fables, he is an actual being who stalks our planet. He knows his time is short so he seeks to wreak havoc on every occasion.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He comes “only to steal and kill and destroy” (John. 10:10). You’re enjoying happiness? Satan wants to steal it. You’ve discovered joy? He’ll try to kill it. Love your spouse? Satan would love to destroy your marriage. He is the enemy of your God-given destiny and longs to be the destroyer of your soul.

Don’t dismiss him.

Agree with the witness of Scripture. From the Bible’s earliest to final pages, we are confronted with an arrogant anti-God force of great cunning and power. He is the devil, the serpent, the strong one, the lion, the wicked one, the accuser, the god of this age, the murderer, the prince of this world, the prince of the power of the air, Beelzebub, and Belial. He oversees a conglomeration of spiritual forces: principalities, powers, dominions, thrones, princes, lords, gods, angels, unclean spirits, and wicked spirits.

Satan appears in the Garden at the beginning. He is cast into the fire in the end. He tempted David, bewildered Saul, and waged an attack on Job. He is in the Gospels, the book of Acts, the writings of Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude. Serious students of Scripture must be serious about Satan.

Jesus was. He squared off against Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He pegged him as the one who snatches the good news from the hearts of the hearers (Matthew 4:15; 13:39). Prior to the crucifixion, Jesus proclaimed: “Now shall the ruler of this world be cast out” (John 12:31). Jesus saw Satan not as a mythological image, not an invention of allegory. He saw the devil as a superhuman narcissist. When he taught us to pray, Jesus did not say, “Deliver us from nebulous negative emotions.” He said, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

We play into the devil’s hand when we pretend he does not exist. The devil is a real devil.

But, and this is huge, the devil is a defeated devil. Were Satan to read the Bible (something he is wont to do), he would be utterly discouraged. Reference after reference makes it clear: the devil’s days are numbered.

“Having disarmed the powers and authorities, [Jesus] made a public spectacle of [the forces of evil], triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus stripped Satan of certain victory. He and his minions are being held on a short leash until the final judgment. On that day, the Great Day, Jesus will cast Satan into a lake of fire from which the devil will never return (see 2 Peter 1:4; Jude 1:6). Evil will have its day and appear to have the sway, but God will have his say and ultimately win the day.

Be alert to the devil, but don’t be intimidated by him.

Learn to recognize his stench. Since he comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), wherever you see heists, death, and destruction, turn to God in prayer. Since his name means “divider”, wherever you see temptation, rejection, and isolation, you know the culprit. Go immediately to Scripture. Stand on the promises of God regarding Satan.

God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NCV).

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (I Corinthians 10:13).

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

[The devil] is filled with fury because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12).

Put on God’s full armor … with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest. On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. (Ephesians 6:11, 14-16 NCV).

The Roman soldiers of Paul’s day knew better than to saunter onto the battlefield wearing nothing but a robe and sandals. They took care to prepare. They took every weapon into the conflict.

So must we! Every day brings conflicts with Satan and his forces. For that reason “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4).

What are these weapons? Prayer, worship, and Scripture. When we pray, we engage the power of God against the devil. When we worship, we do what Satan himself did not do: we place God on the throne. When we pick up the sword of Scripture, we do what Jesus did in the wilderness. He responded to Satan by proclaiming truth. And, since Satan has a severe allergy to truth, he left Jesus alone.

He will do the same with you. God’s victory over Satan is certain.

The next time you smell the devil’s stinky breath, remind him of the promise he is loath to hear. “The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him” (Romans 16:20 NCV).

Satan may be vicious, but he is not victorious.

© Max Lucado, 10/02/2017

40 comments on “Evil: Why in the World?

  1. Thanks Max, What a wonderful message. We need to stand strong against satan and take our stand FOR Jesus..thanks for sharing. I ask everyone who reads this post from Max to please pray for all who are affected by this unnecessary act of violence.

  2. This is something not only myself, but Christian brothers and sisters I know of need to be reminded of in this day and time. Thank you for sharing, I actually read clear to the end, not assuming I knew it (the Word) and what you would say, but really reading and taking it in. I will share this hoping it will help others.

  3. Amen brother thank you for encouraging Words. Praise the Lord. Glory to the Almighty God ❤️✝️

  4. Amein Keep The Whole Armor Of God ON Eph 6 !!!
    Blessings 🙂 Prayers N Love 🙂

  5. I will save this article and reread it and study these versus. Much needed in our world today. Thank you

  6. Thanks for the words God inspires in you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts to everyone. Your words gives me peace in this troubled times, we just lost my aunt and cousin on hands of the earth quake in Mexico City, but we are certain that they are in the presence of our good Lord.

  7. Thank you for your wisdom. Worry is the devils workshop We hat be hopeful prayerful. God is waiting for us.

  8. Thank you so very much. I find myself becoming so disillusioned and begin to get discouraged. I just began to read your new book on “Anxious for Nothing”. Wow, I’m glad it was just released. God Bless you, Max.

  9. A great reminder that we all needed. Hopefully I will be able to accurately repeat these words and thoughts to those that ask “why does God let things happen like this?”

  10. Thank you Max for reminding us that God is still on His throne!!! …. and the devil does know his time is short!!
    I needed to read these scriptures as I am sure we all needed to be encouraged and reminded we are not defeated no matter what things are going on in this time of our lives.

  11. The tragedy in Las Vegas is heartbreaking. However, to pretend that Satan does not use individuals to carry out his evil deeds is nonsense. Yes Satan is out to destroy all that God holds dear to his heart. But Satan isn’t Casper a ghost working unseen and alone. He does his evil deeds of separation, division, rejection through humans. I wonder if the shooter ever attended a non- denomination church and was treated badly, rejected, and maybe the pastor never took time to develop a mentorship with him. It’s easy to blame Satan for the violence that is happening in our world . Its also the easy way out to just tell people to pray, worship , and read the word. If pastors are so high and mighty writing books and touring the world instead of building mentor based relationships with their congregations it’s no wonder the easy way out is taken. If you’re one that is hurting , rejected, and ignored at church it isn’t a ghost or evil spirit that is attacking you. The church leader ship also knows Gods word and through free will decide on their own to ignore Gods word. Hence, at church you have individuals that are treated badly and not with Godly brotherly love. These in authority might blame Satan but that’s a no-no. God is clear in his word that you are to love your neighbor. So do black lives matter? How about do white lives matter? Or Mexican lives matter ? Or how about Christian lives matter? When God demands from his children to love your neighbor what he is really saying is : “RELATIONSHIPS MATTER” . If pastors would stop seeking their own interests (book sales, listening to their publicists on what needs to be done) and get back to basics by building relationships maybe with time violence over time might drop dramatically. In Gods view praying , worship, and reading the word is preparation for going out to do his work. A part of Gods work is to let the whole world know that in Gods eyes ” Relationships Matter” and he wants a relationship with you. After that he expects his pastors, leaders, community ministers, worship leaders, musicians , staff to also remember those in attendance at church. In church the leadership should mind Gods initiative and not forget that ” Relationships matter ” to God. So how do you combat evil? Yes do pray, worship, and read Gods word. After that apply Gods word snd build relationships.

    1. Right on Jed vasquez, What Max says is true but sometimes after enough of that it gets dismissive. You brought into line what the church needs to hear. Thank you. I should say organized church, because bottom line, we are the church, and those in their robes need to remember that.

    2. To Jeff, I’m sure there’s a lot of blame to be passed around concerning this massacre. But what Max Lucado has done in his article is turn the light on the real culprit behind this terrible evil deed and that is what Max did, he exposed the devil. This killer was fully demon possed. This is is the full and most accurate explanation. Thank you Max Lucado!

      1. Carrol,
        What max has done is to teach that one should bury their head in the ground. That old myth that an ostrich sticks it head in a hole in the ground to ignore the world is what Max is teaching. You and many other Christian already know how to pray and we know how to bind Satan through prayer. We also already know that studying the Bible and worship is very important. The real issue ? What do you do after or while you are doing these important things? The answer? You are supposed to be building relationships with others around you. Not with the people you feel comfortable with but with those that you know society has labeled as unlovable, rejected, etc. I read other comments mentioning trouble with their marriage. The trouble might not be Satan. It could be due to a lack of time not being spent on building an intimate relationship with your husband/wife. It is easy to blame Satan when one is trying to get out of the responsibility of building relationships. Max is good at telling you the obvious but he fails at following through with what the next step should be. You are not supposed to pray , study the word, worship, and then go on with your life. You are to always be ready to build, strengthen, or engage in building up new and current relationships in Christ. One study’s the word, prays, and worships and at the same time fights evil by building relationships. Max implies that you pray, study the word of God, worship, and somehow on its own evil will be put in its place. God has entrusted all Christian with the directive of loving your neighbor. It implies that to accomplish that directive one has to engage with building Godly relationships. So brothers and sisters yes do pray, study, worship but after that don’t stick your head in the ground hoping in Christ that the issues of evil will disappear. Evil will only be impacted if one is willing to get their head out of the ground and begin to see where a loving Godly relationship will benefit the most. It is usually your neighbor. Amen.

  12. Thank you. Sharing. Well said. I agree. I have occasional battles in the spiritual realm when Satan attcks my happy marriage or in the work place it’s easy to get anxious and I have to stop regroup and know the source is the devil. Once I acknowledge I attack with prayer. And God is faithful.

  13. I’m saving this message. I need to hear it more often. We all do. There is so much wrong with this world. There is so much right in heaven! Thank you, Max

  14. Thanks Max for this balanced view of Satan. He is not to be feared but not to be ignored either. Thanks.

  15. Max, your words are just what I as a resident of Las Vegas needed. Lost a few friends to satan. Thanks for your encouraging words.

  16. Praise God! The source of Evil has been defeated and will be vanquished. “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My Righteous Right Hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

    Thank you Max for your devotion and service to God our King of Kings. I just receive the book “Be Anxious for Nothing.”

  17. Thank you well written full of truth we all need to remember who is behind the terrible situations that happen in this world and who had the ultimate control

  18. Thank you Max for this reminder of who our real enemy is. Praying for those touched by this disaster and also for our President who needs God’s protection and wisdom.

  19. Max Lucado sees and tells us the same all the time there is a devil in all of us and we just need to keep reaching to God and surround ourselves with other God fearing people and not allow Satan to get a hold on anyone.

  20. How could 1 man shoot enough bullets to hurt over 500 people and kill 59???? I do not believe the news reports.

  21. You say he walks the earth as a actual being being, he must be real fast to be at ten thousand places at one time !! If he is real, he is planted in your mind at birth,and you deal with it through your life !!!!

  22. This is all true – but too easy to say. Just to say there’s an enemy and we need to pray is not enough. Our families and our churches become more dysfunctional every year. Where is the battle plan to take the battle to the enemy instead of hiding behind our four walls? Where’s the outreach to hurting people and broken families? Where are the efforts to bring our churches together as opposed to guarding our own turf? Where are the challenges to be salt and light to a lost world? Where is the reality check that goes beyond saying if we stand for the flag we’re Christian? If we’re not suffering for our witness we’re not witnessing in words or deeds.

  23. What a wonderful message to read this morning. Thank you. I will be reading Be Anxious for Nothing. My sister in love just ordered the book.

  24. Max, you mention that Satan’s days are numbered, but why would an all-good and all-knowing god have created Satan in the first place? Also, couldn’t an all-good and all-knowing god have given Satan a revelation that would have changed his heart so that he could become a force for good in the Universe even before humanity arose on Earth? If such a god is just biding his time while letting millions of kids starve to death and all kinds of other suffering occur not only to humans but also to all kinds of animals, where’s the virtue in worshiping a god like that?

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