Christians should never underestimate the power of Satan and his temptations, the Rev. Billy Graham says in a warning to believers about the the devil's deceptive nature.
Although Satan will always try to convince Christians that his intentions are good, he is in fact "absolutely evil" because "he is absolutely opposed to God and everything God wants to do," Graham explains in a "My Answers" post on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.
"Never underestimate Satan's power, and never underestimate his ability to deceive us and make us think he isn't to be feared. In fact, he even deceives some people into thinking he doesn't exist!" Graham continues. "He is not as powerful as God — but he still is a powerful spiritual force who works against God in every way he possibly can."
To repel Satan, Graham encourages Christians to read Ephesians 6:11, which says: "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
"The most important truth about the devil, however, is this: he is a defeated foe! Yes, he is still at work — but by Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, He dealt Satan a fatal blow," Graham emphasizes. "Death and Hell and Satan have been defeated, and someday Christ's victory will be complete. Make sure your faith and trust are in Jesus Christ, both now and for all eternity."
The Christian Post reported last year that Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, also spoke about the real nature of Satan during an interview with James and Betty Robison on their "Life Today" program. "It was a very real devil that came into the Garden of Eden to seduce Adam and Eve. It was a very real devil that tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He is still in business. He goes to church every Sunday," Hagee said.
"And if you don't know how to recognize him and take authority over him he'll destroy your life, your marriage, your children, your church, your hopes, your dreams. That's what I want them to take away," he added.
The megachurch pastor echoed Graham's sentiments by saying that while Satan is real, Christians have "absolute authority" over him if they walk with God.
"The powers of Hell cannot touch you; the angels of God are defending you," Hagee said.
A 2009 Barna survey found that four out of 10 Christians believe Satan "is not a living being but is a symbol of evil." This compares to 26 percent of Christians who strongly disagree with this statement, along with 9 percent who disagreed somewhat.
The Barna study also found that 47 percent of the Christians who said they believed Satan was just a symbol of evil also agree "that a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces such as demons."