Updated: May 7, 2021
Perhaps while scrolling through Facebook or catching up on the latest morning news over coffee, you came across the controversial story of the widely discussed Satan Shoes from earlier this year. Plastered across all the leading media outlets and social media channels, the so-called “Satan Shoes,” created by musician Lil Nas X, are custom Nike shoes that were designed as a marketing tool for his latest music. The shoes contain satanic imagery on the box, pentagrams on the laces, an inverted cross and, if you can believe it, a drop of human blood in the dye used to create its black and red coloring. The shoes also accompany an equally controversial music video from the same artist who sang “Old Town Road,” a hit among kids and teenagers.
While it is shocking to think that such an openly satanic product even exists, that isn’t even the truly scary part. Of the 666 pairs of the shoes that were made – at a staggering cost of over $1,000 each – the shoes sold out in less than a minute.
Let that sink in for a moment. Shoes designed as an homage to the devil sold out in less than one minute generating nearly $1 million in sales for the creator.
And that’s not even the tip of this disturbing iceberg. There are Satan-friendly shows on Netflix. There are musicians who don horns and proudly proclaim to be “devils.” There are video games where you literally travel to Hell. And these aren’t located in the far-off recesses of the web. They are bestselling artists. They are must-see TV. They are trendy and trending. Folks, the devil is real and he doesn’t even have to hide it anymore.
Billy Graham once said, “don’t think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and a pitchfork. He is very clever and powerful, and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God’s plans at every turn.” And you need not look any further than the first handful of pages of the Bible to find Satan appearing as the Serpent in the Garden. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Genesis 3:1.
It is clear the devil has been there since the beginning. And he is still here today.
An article published in the New York Post in 2019 said it best with the headline “’Hail Satan’ is trending: How the devil is firing up pop culture.” One excerpt from the article states, “the devil seems to have carved out a place in the cultural spotlight unrivaled since the 1980s.” Even more alarming, the article concludes with this quote from an individual speaking about the Satanic Temple. “Right now, they’re dealing with growth that is so explosive they can’t possibly process the amount of requests they’re receiving. It really is a landmark moment for them.” So where does that leave us? Or, for that matter, where does that leave our youth caught in this storm of conflicting ideas.
First, it is important to recognize that these things do exist in popular culture when trying to understand and communicate with our youth today. It is no longer enough just to say, “don’t watch this” or “don’t listen to that.” It is everywhere. It is on mainstream radio. It is “recommended” on our streaming services. It is pushed in the faces of teenagers and young adults daily. Young people today don’t even have to seek it out to find it.
Of course, the first line of defense against the devil starts at home. It is easy to throw up your hands and say, “we didn’t have these kinds of problems when I was growing up.” While that may be somewhat true, it isn’t helpful. This stuff does exist today, and it needs to be addressed.
We, as Christians, must stop putting the blame elsewhere and look inwards. We must be better stewards at home and not allow our children to consume these types of materials. Allowing our children unsupervised time on the internet, on television, or on video games can lead them to unwittingly finding inappropriate content. Blaming the media isn’t going to help.
We must also prepare our children for the spiritual warfare they will face. We must introduce them to scripture, pray daily, and regularly attend church to prepare them for the world when we are not around to help steer their decisions.
Ephesians talks about how we must “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” The verse goes on to talk about donning the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace as footwear, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. These tools, given to us by God, help us withstand the daily bombardment of the devil and his attempts to snare us using this fallen world.
James adds to the discussion by giving us very simple instructions. In James 4:7 he says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That sounds simple enough, right? Simply tune out the devil and off he goes. The problem is, it is getting harder and harder to tune him out. Especially for young people.
For all the great advances our society has made in bringing the knowledge of the world to our fingertips, so too has it increased the ease in which we are presented with false narratives and evil disguised as “mainstream.” We, as individuals, can’t stop musicians, actors, and influencers from creating this content, but we can arm ourselves with the spiritual armor of God. And we can do the same with our children and those that we love.
Teach children not only when something is wrong, but why it is wrong. Teach them so that they can teach others. Because that is what we are called by God to do.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the every end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.