“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” 1 Peter 5:8-9
I believe the expression goes, “Give the devil an inch, and he’ll take a mile,” but I like to tack on a continuation: “Give the devil an inch, and he’ll take a mile, but give the Lord an inch, and He’ll take a lightyear!”
The fact of the matter is: yes, if you flirt with temptation, it is very likely you will fall, but we must remember that the Lord is God and He is both desirous and strong enough to save us from anything (e.g. Mark 1:40-42). It is also my experience that if I begin to open up the door a little bit to the Lord — if I show just a bit of humility — He will step in and celebrate with me (Revelation 3:20).
I have grown in my faith over the years, I realize as I write this. There was a time when if temptation came my way I’d look for God and cry out to Him to come down from His lofty heaven and save me — if I were so good as to remember to call on Him! Now, when I recognize I am being tested, I know that Christ is already with me, so I run behind Him like a child runs behind its mother when a stranger approaches. It is no heroism to face a temptation on one’s own, after all. To do so would be as foolish and naïve as a child taking the hand of a nefarious stranger who promised all sorts of goodies.
The Devil is most certainly frightening, but I have heard people speak of him with an almost reverential fear, as if he has any power next to God’s. Yes, he has far more power than we have as weak human beings, but his power is tiny next to our infinite, omnipotent God’s! It is that very fact that made him so sulky and cast him out of heaven. He would like us to believe he is a god, but that is just another one of his lies. As long as we cling to Christ, as a child clings to its mother or father, we have nothing to fear. The battle is already won.
When Teresa of Avila’s brother expressed an interest in meditating on hell, she simply replied, “Don’t.” Do not let yourself be fascinated by things of evil; cling to God and revel in His goodness! “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
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