Can the devil overpower us?
Your question was, “Can the devil overpower us?” I have good news for you – not unless we let him!
There is an excellent speech that President James E. Faust gave in 1994 on this subject called, “Trying to Serve the Lord Without Offending the Devil.” In this talk, President Faust discusses the Devil’s power:
“We have heard comedians and others justify or explain their misdeeds by saying, ‘The devil made me do it.’ I do not really think the devil can make us do anything. Certainly he can tempt and he can deceive, but he has no authority over us that we do not give him.” Id. Moreover, “All beings who have bodies have power over those who do not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.” Id. Finally, “We need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan’s power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat.” Id.
Basically,according to Faust, the Devil’s power is ordinarily limited to enticing us to choose wrong. He can make evil look good and thereby encourage us to make bad decisions, which may have eternal consequences, but ultimately we are responsible for what we choose. He cannot seize our agency or force us to choose wrong.
I want to leave you with a comforting scripture of how to avoid giving the devil any power. Alma 34:39 provides almost a direct answer to your question:
“Yea, and I also exhort you, my bretheren, that ye be watchful unto prayer continually, that ye may not be led away by the temptations of the devil, that he may not overpower you, that ye may not become his subjects at the last day; for behold, he rewardeth you no good thing.”
Remember to pray and be diligent in living the gospel, and the devil can have no power over you whatsoever.