The Ongoing Battle

battleGreat and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations, which every Christian must bear. We bear them even though each one were alone by himself. So every hour that we are in this vile life, we are attacked on all sides [2 Corinthians 4:8], chased and hunted down. We are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not allow us to become weary and faint [Isaiah 40:31; Hebrews 12:3] and to fall again into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

We Christians must be armed [Ephesians 6:10-18] and daily expect to be constantly attacked. No one may go on in security and carelessly, as though the devil were far from us. At all times we must expect and block his blows. Though I am now chaste, patient, kind, and in firm faith, the devil will this very hour send such an arrow into my heart that I can scarcely stand. For he is an enemy that never stops or becomes tired. So when one temptation stops, there always arise others and fresh ones.

So there is no help or comfort except to run here, take hold of the Lord’s Prayer, and speak to God from the heart like this: “Dear Father, You have asked me to pray. Don’t let me fall because of temptations.” Then you will see that the temptations must stop and finally confess themselves conquered. If you try to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsel, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil more space. For he has a serpent’s head [Revelation 12:9]. If it finds an opening into which it can slip, the whole body will follow without stopping. But prayer can prevent him and drive him back.   (Luther’s Large Catechism III 105, 109-11)

How did Luther know what tempts me? How did he know that I would blame God, myself, and others for my barrenness? Each and every day brings temptations to “cure” my barren womb and to covet the children that are not mine. How did Luther know that once I was content within my barrenness, then the devil would send another temptation for me to try to “fix” my barren sisters?

Luther was right in saying that the enemy never becomes tired. We are constantly battling sin, this world, and our sinful flesh. There truly is no place for comfort other than in the safe and secure arms of Jesus. He fights the battles for us. He wraps the Word of God, along with His own Body and Blood, around our weak souls and protects us. He gives us His own words in the Lord’s Prayer to battle the evil foe.

Take comfort, dear friends. While you may be weary from fighting off temptation, Christ fights for you!

I want to memorize this prayer: Dear Father, You have asked me to pray. Don’t let me fall because of temptations. Amen.