By Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only. ~ Luke 4:8
Have you ever noticed how movies and books portray Satan?
Popular culture would have us believe that he comes at us as a monster, a hideous creature we can see, bent on our physical destruction. In reality, we know his typical modus operandi is to approach quietly, finding our weaknesses and worming his way into our psyche, often before we even realize it. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t do much for selling movies or books, it’s a surprisingly good strategy. Exploit human nature, whisper lies, and promises that sound like truth and good things, and appeal to our vanity. The enemy has undoubtedly found that he can take down many more of us this way than the flashy epic battles portrayed in movies.
But Jesus will have none of that. In today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke, Satan tries to tempt Jesus by promising him food, land, power, and glory. Of course, Jesus sees right through it and calmly shuts him down. When I read Luke’s Gospel, those promises sound familiar. They are the same promises I hear! Turn away from God and follow me, and you will have more—more money, more fame, more power.
We often can’t see the lies as clearly as Jesus can, but I suspect they were delivered much the same way. A little whisper in the mind that says, “I will feel so much better if I just stop this fast and eat” or “I don’t have to pray—God will understand.” The lies work on us, breaking down our defenses until it’s difficult to see the right path.
Deflecting the Lies
We know the enemy will work on us this way, so how can we defend ourselves? The good news is that Jesus and His Church have already given us everything we need. The Sacraments, especially Mass and Confession, are particularly powerful in the fight. Holiness is also a key.
If we allow ourselves to partake of what is now culturally normal, such as entertainment that features excessive sex and violence, a constant quest for more money, and more things, focusing on ourselves to the point that we neglect our state in life. We give the enemy a head start in taking us away from our relationship with God.
Once we have done our part, we can also rest assured that Jesus will do the true heavy lifting of defending us against evil. After all, as Luke reminds us, He’s defeated it not once but many, many times.
Jesus, help me to have your insight to see the lies of the enemy and have the strength and courage to reject them.
Call to Action
The next time you hear those little whispers of discontent, ask God to help you see them clearly. And if they are not from God? Reject them outright by asking Jesus to help you fight that battle.
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