Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Fighting Temptations

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, the Gospel of Luke follows Jesus after his baptism as he goes into the wilderness for 40 days and faces temptations. In the late 300s, John Chrysostom (c.347-407) preached the following on Jesus' temptations,

All that Jesus did and suffered was for our instruction.

He consented to be led into the desert and to do battle with the devil so that when the baptized were assailed by greater temptations after baptism than before they would not be troubled as though this were something unexpected, but would remain steadfast, bearing them all nobly. You did not receive weapons so that you might sit at ease, but so that you might fight!

The reasons God does not prevent the onslaught of temptations are these.

  • John ChrysostomFirst, so that you may learn that you have now become much stronger;

  • then, so that you may remain modest, for you will not be puffed up by the greatness of your gifts if temptations can humble you;

  • next, because the wicked demon may doubt at first whether you have really renounced him and the test of temptation will convince him of your total desertion;

  • fourth, to confirm you, who are now stronger and steadier than iron;

  • fifth, to give you clear evidence of the treasures committed to you.
The devil would not have attacked you if he had not seen that you have been raised to a position of great honor.

Notice where it was that the Spirit led Jesus—not into the city or the market place, but into the desert. Since Jesus wished to entice the devil he gave him his opportunity not only by his own hunger, but also by his choice of place.

The devil usually attacks people when he sees them alone by themselves. He does not dare to do so when he sees them together with others. It is for this reason especially that we should frequently meet with one another. If we do not we may become an easy prey for the devil.

And so, the devil finds Jesus in the desert, in a trackless wilderness. Consider how vile and wicked the devil's approach is, and what sort of opportunity he watches for. He does not come near when Jesus is fasting, but only when he is hungry.

You should learn from this the great value of fasting and that no weapon is more powerful against the devil. After baptism you should not be filled with food and drink from a well-laden table, but should rather devote yourself to fasting.

Jesus fasted not because he himself had any need to do so, but to give us an example.

This evening, we begin our new weekend worship schedule with a communion service at 6 p.m. Tomorrow morning, we will have an 8 a.m. worship service in addition to the usual 10 a.m. service. If you are tempted to skip worshipping God this weekend, don't give in. You now have two more options at King of Peace. Come join us at one of the three services.



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