“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” - 1 Corinthians 10:21 (ESV)
Do you believe in the existence of demons? Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Satan in the twentieth century is convincing much of humanity that he does not exist at all. If we no longer acknowledge that Satan is real, we stop guarding ourselves from his influence and allow him to enter into our midst. As C.S. Lewis wrote in the preface to The Screwtape Letters:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Christians must believe not only in Christ, but also in the existence of Satan, demons, and evil. We must also realize that the forces of good and evil play an active role in our lives. In every thought and action of our day we must consciously choose Christ because when we don’t, we are often unconsciously choosing evil or that which is opposite of Christ.
Today’s readings remind us that true Christianity requires choice. It is not enough to find comfort in the words of Christ. To be a Christian is not simply to like Christ, but to follow him. Christianity is not convenient. We cannot simply pull out our Bibles when we have a spare moment or give ourselves to God for one hour a week at Mass. If we do, we are giving 167 hours a week to something other than God. We must continuously strive to die a little more to self, to guard ourselves from the influences that would divert us from God, and to build up Christ within ourselves.
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” - Luke 6:45 (ESV)
What small actions and sacrifices can you do today to build up “good treasure” in your heart so that the goodness of the Lord will flow from you? Consider also the ways Satan has infiltrated your life. In what ways can you protect yourself from the influences of evil?
Mandi Richards is a wife, mother, and cheese lover who calls Raleigh, North Carolina home. You can find out more about her here.