Voice of the Devil
He will command his angels concerning you . . . Matthew 4:6
Many winters ago, when I was maybe 12, my five-year-old sister and I were playing out in the snow. I was attempting to make a boy scout shelter and cookstove, but my skill was too little, and the wind was too much. I quickly became frustrated and lashed out at my sister, who only wanted to play with her brother. You Dummy, why don’t you help!
My parents must have overheard and called my sister inside, but never said anything to me. They didn’t have to. I felt awful. Even at twelve, I understood that I’d indulged in a natural, yet evil impulse that was immensely hurtful to a loved one. I wish that was the last time I’ve ever done that.
I’ve often done what just comes natural to me, only to find that my nature can be profoundly destructive. If there is a devil, he doesn’t appear with a pitchfork, tempting me with murder. He whispers in the voice of my natural impulses. That guy’s a jerk, he deserves your harsh words . . . You work hard, you deserve the pill . . . You only have one life, just do whatever feels good.
Satan used a similar tactic with Jesus in today’s passage when he cast doubt on Jesus’ identity. If you really are God’s son, then jump off this pinnacle. God’s own words promise that he’ll catch you. Satan didn’t speak obviously evil words, but instead, twisted scripture for his own use. If we would learn to defend ourselves as Jesus did, we must follow his example. Quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, Jesus replied, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.
We don’t know the Bible as well as Christ, but we should know our struggles and prepare accordingly. If we struggle with alcohol, when tempted, we should be prepared with Ephesians 5:18 and Galatians 5:1. If we’re struggling with lust, we can quote Matthew 5:27-28. It takes discipline but taking every though captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) means that we learn to recognize and reject the voice of evil, challenging it with God’s voice instead.
If we think ourselves immune to evil desires, then we are assuredly and hopelessly enslaved to a blinding pride. We all struggle with something and Satan uses those struggles against us. If we desire to follow God, living free from the misery that we cause ourselves, then we must learn to abandon the voice of evil for the voice of God.