Hello Matthew and Bob,
I appreciate your caution, Bob, but the devil is also known as a murderer, as well as a liar, and a deceiver. That he targets individuals should be clear from Scripture, and that he uses individuals to do this is also clear (namely Job, the Lord Jesus, Judas). It is from the power of darkness I have been delivered when God translated me into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:13). When tempting the Lord Jesus in the wilderness he exhibited supernatural power, which was, as we know, nothing compared to the might and wisdom of the Son of God.
When the devil or his minions infiltrate a soul -- demonize him or her -- it is a radical act of alien power. Yes, they have been granted this access through sin, the sins of parents (say, they practice witchcraft or other occult activity), or one's own. I am not talking of -- all the time, at any rate -- Biblical possession, but varying degrees of enslavement, psychologically, physically, spiritually to sin, aided and amplified by these aliens that are cloaked with invisibility.
We are told that we wrestle against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12), and this does indicate individual responsibility as well as activity on our parts. Wrestling is intense personal conflict, and there are weapons used against individuals, such as "the fiery darts of the wicked" which I am told to quench using the shield of faith. As an offensive weapon I am given the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This weapon I may wield in a number of ways; one is by the word of my testimony (Rev 12:11), another is by the preaching of the Gospel, and another is in my "resist[ing] the devil...[that he] flee from [me]" (James 4:7). I am told by Peter that my adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and whom I am -- as an individual -- to resist stedfast in the faith (1 Pet 5:8, 9).
When resisting a spiritual foe I am to use spiritual means / weapons: as I use the sword of the Spirit, I stand in and proclaim the word of my God and Savior, which is a word of power.
In John Bunyan's classic, Pilgrim's Progress, Mr. Great-heart is questioning newly-met Mr. Valiant-for-truth concerning his adventures, and asks why he did not cry out for help when overwhelmed. Valiant answers, “So I did to my King, who I knew could hear, and afford invisible help, and that was sufficient for me.” Then said Great-heart to Mr. Valiant-for-truth, “Thou hast worthily behaved thyself; let me see thy Sword;” so he shewed it him.
When he had taken it in his hand, and looked thereon a while, he said, “Ha! It is a right Jerusalem blade.” And Valiant, “It is so. Let a man have one of these blades, with a hand to wield it, and skill to use it, and he may venture upon an Angel with it. He need not fear its holding, if he can but tell how to lay on. Its edges will never blunt. It will cut flesh, and bones, and soul, and spirit and all.”
It does seem to me, according to the Scriptures, that I as an individual will have extraordinarily evil days where I will be in "hand-to-hand" (wrestling) combat with spirit foes. My weapon is by the word of my mouth, wherein I take up the sword given me by God and wield it. I direct it against my adversaries, and they do indeed flee, and by His grace I withstand in the evil day, and having done all, stand (Eph 6:13).
Matthew, when you say,
I would have thought that the view which includes all forms of evil as Satanic attacks was the one which was farthest from ignoring the spiritual/demonic. It seems to me that the highlighting of specific forms of evil and calling those "attacks" over and above other forms of evil is the view most likely to undermine the idea of Satan as an active foe, and certainly provides a convenient shadow under which Satan can mask his activity.
I would agree with this in the main. Yet sometimes an attack presents itself in a particular instance and I must deal with it, while remaining, as you suggest above, circumspect with regard to the entirety of my experience.
My one caveat to your statement pertains to the evil arising from within myself -- the "remaining corruption" -- and I do not attribute that to the devil. It is my own, and I repent of it when it manifests, and seek cleansing at that fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness (Zech 13:1).
When our young people (and we older ones!) give themselves to computer / video games they give themselves over to an alien realm, as I indicate in the story, The Game-Master. We are a species under siege, often distracted from the warfare by games, movies, TV shows, or other activities. Is not the antichrist spirit rampant and ravaging in these days?
How many sleep? How many are awake?