Day Ten: Tempter

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Saint Matthew’s version of Jesus’ forty days in the desert gives the devil the title, “tempter.” Saint Luke refers to him as “the devil,” and Saint Mark refers to him as “satan.” All three Gospels tell us that one of Jesus’ primary reasons to enter the desert for this time of fasting and prayer was to come face-to-face with the temptations of the evil one.

Satan’s title as “tempter” is appropriate because it describes his primary intention for everyone. Recall the fact that satan, lucifer, or the devil, was, at the moment of his creation, created good and beautiful. His name “lucifer” signifies that the purpose of his creation was to be the “light bearer” of God. What a noble and glorious responsibility!

The devil, like every other created angel and human, was created with free will. He could choose either to love God by entering into full communion with God’s will, or he could choose to reject this sacred calling by choosing his own will. Of course, he chose the latter. The result, as depicted in the Book of Revelation, is that the devil and a third of all the created angelic beings chose, with their own free wills, to reject God’s purpose for their lives. However, what’s important to understand about these fallen angelic beings is that, even in their fallen state, they retain their natural powers given to them at the moment of their creation. Among these natural powers is the power of suggestive thought and influence over us. Their original calling was to communicate to us the beauty and power of God’s will for our lives. Now, they use their natural abilities in the opposite way, due to their pride.

In addition to satan, many other fallen spirits join in the single mission of being tempters of the human race. On one hand, God could have offered a remedy for their diabolic mission of tempting us, simply by destroying these fallen angels or stripping them of their natural abilities. But God did not do that. He gave these beings natural powers, and He does not now take them away. Instead, God did something even more amazing. He took on human nature, entered into a state of physical hardship in the desert, and then allowed these fallen creatures to do all they could to tempt Him. By enduring their temptations, in particular the temptations of satan himself, Jesus gave human nature the divine strength to face and overcome every temptation the devil and the other fallen spirits will inflict. For that reason, we must enter the desert with our Lord to receive His strength as we endure the tempter’s assaults.

Ponder the amazing way that God chose to deal with satan and all fallen angels. Rather than destroy them, He overcame them, giving each of us the same power to overcome them. Think about your temptations. What is it that you struggle with, over and over again? What thoughts come from the lying spirits who seek only to tempt you and destroy you? Do not fear temptation. Do not hide from it. Face it with Jesus’ courage, Who conquered the evil one by rejecting every lie he attempted to impose.

My tempted Lord, You did not remove the natural powers that You gave to those spirits who rejected You. Instead, You chose to strengthen human nature by assuming its form and then overcoming temptation. Please give me Your divine strength every time I am tempted to sin. In Your holy name, Jesus, I rebuke satan and all evil spirits who prowl about this world seeking the destruction of souls. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Day Ten: 40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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