DEAR REV. GRAHAM: What is the devil’s most successful trick? In other words, out of all the schemes he uses to try to lead us astray, which one works best? I’d like to know so I can be on guard.
— Z.J. DEAR Z.J: I’m thankful you want to be on guard against the devil’s schemes, because the devil is real, and he will do everything he can to deceive us and turn us away from God. The Bible urges us to be alert to the devil’s schemes, “in order that Satan might not outwit us” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The devil has many tricks up his sleeve (so to speak) but surely one of his most successful is to make us believe he doesn’t exist. We may admit that evil is real, but then deny that behind it are demonic spiritual forces bent on our destruction and death. Or we may deny the devil’s true nature by turning him into a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and pitchfork. But Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).
Someone has said that the devil doesn’t need to think up any new tricks because the old ones still work. It’s true. Lust, pride, power, discouragement, doubt, money, escapism, pleasure, hate, anger, jealousy, selfishness — the ways he attacks us are almost endless. If one temptation doesn’t work, he’ll try another and he’ll keep on trying.
The most important fact about Satan is that he is a defeated foe. By His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ conquered death and hell and Satan, and someday His victory will be complete. In the meantime, make sure of your commitment to Christ, and turn to Him every day for the strength you need.
Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the website at