My friend Lulu has a powerful post up about spiritual warfare.
She is right. We Lutherans often do not acknowledge the reality of spiritual warfare in our lives. We confess "the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh," but often what we see is "the world and our sinful flesh." Satan likes it that way. He doesn't care that we acknowledge his existence, as long as we are fooled by the lies that he tells. As a matter of fact, it often suits him just fine that we don't actually SEE him doing his work.
But he does work, terribly hard. And he loves to draw us away from the Word. It doesn't matter whether it is just introducing little ideas that create doubt or cause pride, or pander to our Old Adam's desire to just jump right into sin and wallow in it.
We like to enjoy mythological stories in our house. In fact, we are reading Homer's "The Odyssey" right now. We think those stories are just interesting stories...but Satan worked through those stories, he did magic that made those gods real to the people in Greece. He encouraged witchcraft, debauchery, and devotion to different gods. I'm sure people really saw nymphs and fawns and such....demons can do that, you know. Justin Martyr writes of the reality of demons behind the false gods, and the Early Church took the satanic influence behind them as a reality.
But for pagans today -- witches, animists, nature worshippers Satanists, and others of the occult . are in Satan's grasp...and Satan does not hide from them. He presents himself as an ally to their cause, lures them with a tiny bit of his power and holds on...sometimes feeling free to be cruel and torturing because he knows that he has them.
But Jesus has defeated Satan, and as much as Satan tries, Christ is victorious. But we need to not be scared of that, and we need to know that he is real, and the Church needs to be a place of comfort and power for those that are fleeing him. Because Satan will try to get them back, and he does. Her call for us to be aware of this, because there are more and more entering the occult constantly -- and there will be those who need Christ and His Church.