In last week’s post I discussed the Devil, who he is and why he has a problem with humans. As a reminder, this is based on Father John Riccardo’s book Rescued, which I highly recommend that you read or listen to for yourself. This week I am going to do my best to discuss the Devil’s game plan and what his tactics are that he uses pretty successfully.
We know that the Devil HATES us. His ultimate goal is to enslave and degrade us. He wants to DESTROY us. How does he do this? We know that the greatest thing in life is love, and most especially the love of God. To deprive us of love the Devil tells us that we’re not worth loving; that if we were lovable then bad things wouldn’t happen to us; that people who supposedly love us wouldn’t let us get hurt. He’s the one who whispers, “If there really is a loving God then why is there such suffering and tragedy in this world? Why would a loving God let that happen?” And we fall for these lies! There is such suffering and tragedy in the world because this is the Devil’s kingdom and he reigns supreme. Adam and Eve fell for his lies and we’ve inherited that trait from them. They didn’t have any reason to distrust God and yet Satan was able to get them to disobey God’s only rule in the garden.
Due to the fall of Adam and Eve, Death and Sin entered the world. These aren’t just things or states of being. Death and Sin have tremendous power over all of us. No matter what you do you are going to die. No matter how much money you make or how much time you spend volunteering, at some point you are going to die. There is nothing that will stop this from happening. We are doomed, right? So why bother going on. Why bother trying to resist? Because there is hope!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believed in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”John 3:16-18 (NABRE)
Jesus came to earth to save us from the clutches of Death and Sin. Are we still going to die? Yes, BUT we will be raised with Christ! What does that mean? It means that when the day of judgement comes those who have believed will be welcomed into God’s presence with open arms while hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant!” That’s what we want to hear, right? We don’t want to hear Jesus tell us that we didn’t make it and we are banished to hell. Where does that leave us? That leaves us in the grip of the Devil to do with us as he pleases. Keep in mind that Newton’s third law says that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Who was the one who designed all laws of physics and science? God. So, Kerry’s First Law (that’s me… I’m claiming this as my own) states that for as much love as God has for us, the Devil has the opposite and equal hatred for us. Think about that for a minute. In the ‘Created’ section we discussed how each of us is God’s most precious and beloved creation above all else. That means that we are also the Devil’s most hated, most loathed and most despised creation. The worst tortures and sufferings that we humans have created have NOTHING on what the Devil can inflict upon us. That is what Death does to us… consigns us to the Devil’s power. Thus, we needed somebody to save us from this power.
“How can we who died in sin yet live in it? Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”Romans 6:2-11 (NABRE)
Sin. Paul makes it sound so simple that you either sin or you don’t. I wish it was that simple! It’s not like black licorice where it seems like you either like it or you don’t. There aren’t too many people who are indifferent to this candy; either you passionately love it or you hate it with every fiber of your being. If people could walk away from sin as easily as they can walk away from black licorice, this world would be a much better place. But it’s very difficult! Why? Because the Devil is right there whispering in our ears. First he tells us that we’re not worth anything better. He accuses… He accuses God because God didn’t stop the suffering when he so easily could have done so. Then he accuses us that it’s our fault that something bad happened. Think of the child who thinks it’s their fault when their parents fight. Then he accuses others, that they could have stopped the bad thing from happening. As he’s doing all of this, and it’s working, he is slowly encircling you with chains to enslave you and keep you under his power. He also divides, lies, flatters, tempts and discourages.
The best example I can think of when it comes to how the Devil works is by taking a look at the girls who often end up in the Adult Entertainment industry. What happens? First, Mr/Ms Smooth comes up and tells the girl how beautiful she is, that she would make a billion dollars as a model and they can help her get those kinds of jobs. (Flattery) They set up a “photo shoot” or fly her out to a big city where she can meet the people who are going to throw cash her way. (Lies/Divides) When she is separated from family or people who actually care about her, they show her the life that she wants to live (tempts). However they finally get her to perform whatever act they have in mind, they have usually spent enough time discouraging her and accusing her of being an embarassment to her family, that she feels she has no power and can’t leave these people who have ruined her life. Can you imagine that kind of life? You used to be happy and proud of yourself. Now you hate the very things you are doing, but you feel that you really are worthless and that your parents or friends would be so ashamed of you that they would never want you back in their lives. You are all alone and completely at the power of these dispicable people. You are degraded and enslaved. You are unloved, unwanted, and completely devoid of all hope.
I’m going to leave you with that thought. Spend some time thinking about being in that pit of despair, abused and controlled by people who don’t care about you. You are trapped without hope of rescue.