Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Saint Peter paints a terrifying picture of what Christians are up against. Have you ever said or thought, “The devil made me do it”? Sometimes it is said humorously, although it is anything but.
Is it true that the devil makes us do what we don’t want to do? No. God allows evil spirits a certain amount of freedom in the world, but it is not unlimited. They can influence us by tempting us to offend God. Such temptations, however, are like bait, but they are not sins.
Even Jesus was not exempt from the temptations of the Evil One. After his baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Satan cleverly waited until Jesus was weak from 40 days of fasting before trying to manipulate Him. The synoptic gospels give accounts of how Jesus prevailed.
We, too, can overcome Satan’s temptations. Our God-given free will allows us to make moral choices either for good or for evil. No one, not even the demons, can makeus do anything. We have to consent.
Still, it is difficult for us mortals to do good consistently. Even Saint Paul said, “… I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.” Concupiscence, a result of our fallen human nature, makes us prone to give in to temptation.
When it comes to resisting Satan’s advances God’s grace is sufficient. It is a comfort to know that God is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. He invites us to ask Him for protection, “Ask and you shall receive.” This promise gives us confidence.
Furthermore, each of us receives from God a guardian angel. The very name of this special angel explains its role. This angel protects and guides us on the path to our salvation. We can ask our angel for help. Often they make themselves noticeable.
Prayer to Your Guardian Angel
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
to light, guard, rule and guide.