Unless you’re Charlie Daniels’ Johnny, making a deal with the devil probably won’t turn out too good for you. The idea of making a pact with the devil, or a devil figure, is prominent in works of fiction, anime included. Series like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Black Butler, and Code Geass (if you count C.C. as such a character) focus on this idea.
The most obvious recent example may be the deals between the magical girls and Kyubey in Madoka Magica. Kyubey fits well into the idea of a devil figure – like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, he is convincing and single-minded. He is also not what he seems, perhaps beckoning to the idea that Satan was once an angel.
The idea of selling one’s soul to the devil is more explicitly explored in Me and the Devil Blues, the intriguing title by Akira Hiramoto. The work runs with the legendary idea that Robert Johnson, one of modern history’s most influential musicians, made a deal with the devil. I haven’t read it, though it’s been highly recommended. My guess is that all doesn’t turn out well for Mr. Johnson, who died well before his time.
This fantastical idea of physically meeting the devil seems like a fable to us. Like miracles, such meetings are often deemed to the past or at least, aren’t expected by a modern crowd. Even so, there’s strong application here for lives of Christians. Perhaps none of us will be confronted by the devil incarnate, but like Kyubey, he works his schemes in a way that pulls at our desires and wishes.
Johnny wanted a golden fiddle. Sayaka wanted healing for her love. We want…money? Comfort? Possessions?
In the west, where we’re so accustomed to riches that even a middle-class lifestyle doesn’t seem near enough (I admit this is a major struggle for me), we’re tempted to focus our time, attention, and energy (and thus, our worship) on the powers and principalities of the world. We bow down to the world as we slave away to work to gain it, foregoing an eternal kingdom for a temporary one.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.” ‘Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
As we bow down to the world, we bow down to Satan.
For Christians in the west, we must be very careful regarding our hearts. Before we know it, our hearts may leave their first love and be persuaded to love another. And like a beautiful man or woman who hides a devilish heart of stone, we might be too bewildered to realize with whom, or what, we’ve fallen in love.