Don’t Give the Devil a Chance (Ephesians 4:27)
Deuteronomy 26: 4 -10
Psalm : 91
Romans: 10: 8 -13
Gospel: Luke 4: 1 – 13
A three year old entered the kitchen when his mother was busy elsewhere in the house. She
had told him not to get into the cookies. But in her absence he pulled a kitchen chair over to
the counter and climbed upon it. Then he took the id off the cookie jar and had just gotten a
cookie into his mouth when his mother entered the room and demanded to know what he was
doing. The three year old looked at her with big, innocent eyes and said, “I just climbed up
here to smell the cookies, and my tooth got caught on one of them.”
The season of Lent begins bringing to our attention the age old problem of temptation. There
are all kinds of temptations we have to continually overcome even on a daily basis. We are
tempted to be greedy, tempted to be jealous, tempted to go to places we shouldn’t go,
tempted to see things we should not be seeing.
Very often we are our own worst enemy. In Ephesians 4:27 we read, “Don’t give the devil a
chance.” If you did, he will take advantage of any open door that you give him. If he sees a
wrong attitude in you, he will take advantage of it. If he sees you watching something you
should not be watching, he will take advantage of it. If he sees you hanging out with wrong
friends, he will take advantage of it. Any compromising situation you put yourself in, or any
weakness that he sees in your character, he will use to lure you off God’s path.
You probably have heard how an Eskimo kills a wolf. He will repeatedly coat the blade in
blood, allowing it to freeze after every coating, until the blade is covered thick as ever. Then,
he will stick the knife in the snow, blade exposed, and as the wolf, unfailingly drawn by the
smell of the frozen blood, licks the blood, his tongue is numbed, and his hunger is fuelled. The
wolf will ferociously lick the knife, in the process cutting his tongue and eventually bleed
himself to death out of his own lust. The devil uses the same tactic to defeat us.
There are two lies the devil wants us to believe. 1. Just once won’t hurt . 2. Now that you
have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use, and might as well enjoy sinning.
How to overcome temptation? Keep your thoughts pure and holy.
During these forty days, we make an intentional journey deep within ourselves. We ask for
guidance as we search for our most authentic selves. God knows us and loves us even in our
struggles. He knows our problems, our problems, our fears, and our dreams. Now is the time,
to turn back to God with all our hearts as a changed person who is open to the life to which
God calls us. It is in the deserts of our lives where we are tempted and struggle the most. St.
Mark’s gospel tells us that Jesus is led into the desert to be tempted by Satan. The Spirit of
God was present as reinforcement so that he could resist that the temptations in his life.
Unless we are led into the desert of our lives, we may never confront or become aware of the
these temptations in our lives. In this Lenten season, which is the acceptable time, we are
called to repentance and a change of heart as we become aware of our struggles. What tests
or temptations do you think are the easiest to be aware of in your life? What is the hardest to
be aware of?
“Jesus remained in the desert 40 days and 40 nights, tempted by Satan.” Lent is traditionally a
time of fast, penance, almsgiving. The idea most of us were given about Lent is that it is a time
to “give up” something. On the contrary, Lent is a time of “DOING” something to change our
lives and the world around us. Our FAST is not just fasting from food but fasting from jealousy,
anger, hatred, and all the other attitudes in our lives that keep us from truly loving God and our
neighbors. It is probably easier to fast from food when we have an abundance of food. Yet it is
harder to change our attitudes about people around us. PENANCE is our willingness to change
and be changed by God’s spirit alive in us. Penance is not just saying prayers but living a life of
prayer in all that we do. ALMSGIVING is our awareness of the needs of others who search for
life, love, and help in their times of need.
The apostle Paul clearly preaches that those who believe in Him are not put to shame. Are we
put to shame in our workplaces, in front of our relatives, in front of our own children? Let us
believe and keep saying that Jesus Christ is our Lord, He will not only deliver us from the
problems we face but will also make our face shine in glory.
We can do a simple exercise. Try focusing on the face of Lord Jesus, and say “Jesus, you are
my Lord”. Whenever we get a minute, instead of checking our cell phones for messages, we
can connect with our Lord, repeating this.
We shall surely experience the reality that of slavery to the land flowing with milk and honey.
In our lives too, God would have brought us out from different kinds of slaveries, maybe a
slavery of wrong thoughts, wrong friends, prayerlessness, joblessness, commutation issues,
health issues, poverty and so on. When we are in slavery, we do not forget to ask God for
freedom for slavery, but when we come out of it, do we remember how our God has brought
out to freedom?
During the Mass, Lent is called “this joyful season”. In the past, we often thought of Lent as a
sad or sorrowful, or gloomy time of the year. When we are able to rediscover ourselves and
turn back to Go, this is a joyful time. There is enough sadness and gloom in our world. What
God does for us is a time of joy! We must ask ourselves, what are some of the joyful aspects of
Lent? Have you come to see Lent as a time of joy rather than a somber time? Every time we
consider what the Lord and done for us and how he has brought us through so many things, we
must praise his holy name.