Sometimes, I find that anxious thoughts about work or family can creep into my mind. Maybe I wake up in the middle of the night worried about one of my children. Or maybe I am carrying a sense of guilt over sharp words I said to my wife earlier that day. Often, I’m able to dismiss these thoughts, but sometimes they just won’t go away. “Jeff, this situation is going to end poorly. Brace yourself for some bad news.” Or “You didn’t do anything wrong. You were provoked. If anything, she should ask for forgiveness!” It’s only when I slow down and pray that I realize that these thoughts don’t sound like the voice of the Holy Spirit. They sound more like the devil, the one Scripture calls a “liar” and an “accuser” (John 8:44; Revelation 12:10).
I thought about all of this as I read the main articles for this month’s edition. They come from Deacon Keith Strohm, a deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago. As a well-known conference speaker and former director of the Office for the New Evangelization in the archdiocese, Deacon Keith has worked to renew parishes and help people all over the world experience freedom as they encounter Jesus in a personal way.
These articles, which have been adapted from Deacon Keith’s recent book The Ten Biggest Lies of the Enemy and How to Combat Them, shine a light on the subtle lies that the devil tells us in his quest to rob us of our hope in Christ. For instance, the devil may try to tell us that we aren’t all that significant to God. Or maybe he suggests that God wants us to grit our teeth and endure life’s troubles on our own.
Cling to the Truth! But Deacon Keith doesn’t talk only about the devil’s lies. He also tells us the truths that will help counter the lies. He urges us to cling to these truths when we are tempted to doubt God’s love or care for us.
What are some of these truths? First and foremost is this: God loved us—God loves you—so much that he sent his Son into the world to overcome the devil and every lie that he tries to whisper to us. Another truth is that God offers us his grace every day to help us recognize the evil one’s tactics and to hold fast to the Lord and his love. We can be sure of this: “The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
In these articles, Deacon Keith offers a balanced and prudent approach to dealing with the devil’s tactics: “To see the devil behind everything and live in fear is to buy into a lie. To dismiss the devil and believe that he isn’t real . . . is also a lie. To recognize your Enemy, all the while knowing who you are and whose you are, is wisdom. You are not defenseless. The Lord has made a way for you, and in his Church, you have received weapons for victory.”
May we all hear the voice of the Holy Spirit assuring us that Jesus has conquered the devil, sin, and death on the cross and that we can “conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37)!