The devil knocks at our doors every day! Every time we are unable to resist temptation, we invite Satan to rule our lives. It’s that simple. For example, too much of anything creates an unhealthy imbalance, whether it is food, drink, sex, drugs, work, you name it. Worse, if we engage in immoral behavior, we not only open the door, but we set the table for the devil to take up housing and we push God away. So, what is the remedy? Embrace the virtue of self-control. Use your God-given intellect to make prudent choices. The first choice that you… Read more…
|Dante’s Inferno, Canto 8 by William Blake (Wikimedia Commons).|
Last week I wrote about the three sources of temptation. Now let’s look at temptation by the Devil in more detail.
Two Scripture passages show us how the Devil tempts us. Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and sinned. Matthew 4 tells how Jesus resisted the Devil’s temptation. The two stories contain striking similarities.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of lifeWhen the Devil tempted Eve, the first thing she noticed was that the forbidden fruit was “good for food” (Gen 3:6). Similarly, the Devil first tempted Jesus by telling Him to turn stones into bread (Mt 4:3). So we see that the Devil often begins by appealing to our natural appetites. In fact, he tempts us with the desires of the flesh.
Apparently, Eve was not completely swayed by this temptation, for she also noticed that the fruit was “a delight to the eyes.” Catholic tradition equates this delight with greed–the desire to have something that is not rightly ours, or to have it in overabundance, or otherwise outside of God’s will. Matthew’s Gospel sets this as Jesus’ third temptation. The Devil promised Jesus all the kingdoms of the world for the “small” price of worshiping him. It’s easy to see how this corresponds to temptation by the world.
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|Orthodox Bulgarian icon of St. George fighting the dragon (photo credit: Wikipedia).|
I used to have spiritual warfare dreams. For what seemed like hours, I would dream that a demon was trying to attack me. To repel him, I had to say, “In the name of Jesus, be gone!” Then he would leave–and be back a few minutes later. Over and over I did battle with demons. I would awake exhausted.
Spiritual warfare in daily life I don’t usually have such dreams any more. But some days I feel like they’ve become my waking reality. Life as a homeschool mom can be trying. I must overcome constant temptations. One moment, three kids ask me for help at once. The next, “J” spills juice on the floor I just mopped. Then two others get in a fight, and one talks back when I discipline him. All during math class.
Now none of these situations is major. But when you barely have time to breathe between one and the next, you get exhausted. You discipline in anger instead of love. You yell at the toddler for acting like a toddler. You argue with your older son.
Or maybe you don’t. But I often do.
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