13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from Jesus until an opportune time.
The struggle is not over simply because I have passed through this particular wilderness moment. There is always “an opportune time” for testing to resume.
I will return to old habit patterns. I will cling again. I will seek to establish my identity using the primitive tool of the world’s affirmation. I will struggle to establish the illusion of security using familiar strategies and schemes. I will return to that place of uncertainty and doubt where I forget my true nature and begin to believe life can be fulfilled on this horizontal material plane alone.
This struggle is simply a reality of the human condition. In this physical time-bound realm we will experience friction.
While the consequences of giving in to this struggle can be devastating, I do well not to take too seriously the inevitability of this inner conflict.
The fact that I struggle does not make me a bad person.
If I take seriously Luke’s statement that the devil “departed from Jesus until an opportune time,” I must believe that Jesus struggled throughout his life. And his struggle was real. To the very end in Gethsemane where, he prayed to be spared the awful destiny he saw before him, Luke says, Jesus,
In his anguish prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. (Luke 22:44)
There is in me some small voice that will always demand to have its way, some determined little “devil”, striving to convince me that life is not enough. This incessant voice tells me God is not adequate; I lack an essential ingredient to find the satisfaction in life for which I long. But, this voice tells lies; lies are its native language, the only language it knows.
The only adequate response to the lies of “the devil” is to remember my true nature and to tell again and again, the story of God’s abundant provision. This is why before he died, Jesus
took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ (Luke 22:19)
There is no other provision I need; it is enough.