You’ve got to hand it to the old serpent. He’s devilishly clever. He’ll create an idol out of anything provided we can be tempted to drift towards it and he’ll custom tailor it for each of us. It’s no longer likely to be a golden calf. After all that doesn’t really fit with our modern secular society although a preoccupation with the occult opens lots of doors for him. It could be anything. It could be an unhealthy attachment to money, or other and varied material things that cause us to want more and more. It could be our obsession with our job or even a community undertaking. It could be our attachment to things of the flesh and that is not confined to pornography and the like but includes our eating and drinking habits. It could even be our commitment to a cause which on the surface is a just one. It might even be a ministry involvement in our Church. The old serpent has one overriding motive in mind and that is to run interference and to disrupt our personal relationship with God. He’ll use whatever tactic is convenient to fit our personality and he’ll refine the tactic in a continuing effort to trap us. He appeals to our ego and our inclination to “self” and the selfishness that accompanies self.
I’ve been blogging lately about “discipleship” and the relationship building with Jesus that breeds it. It’s our efforts to create intimacy with Jesus that the serpent seems determined to attack. His strategies are creative and we all need to be aware of the spiritual warfare going on around us as he attempts to derail our efforts to build intimacy with our loving God. The good news, of course, is that God has not left us defenceless in the face of demonic oppression. He has given us myriad weapons to use and they are all centered on prayer, the sacraments and our relationship with him. We need to take inventory regularly though to detect strategies of the serpent that may be flying below our conscious radar. If we are connected spiritually to God, our spiritual radar will pick up the serpent’s attacks as the Holy Spirit makes us aware of them. It’s all about spending time with Jesus each day and listening to Him.
The serpent is not just worried about our own salvation but more likely by the salvation available to others who through our witness as disciples come to know and to follow Jesus. We are in a ferocious battle with the enemy over souls that God loves. So that we might prevail in that battle, we need first to cling to Jesus as we allow God’s grace to transform us. As our intimacy with our Creator grows and as Jesus begins to rule in our hearts, we will see others with whom we are in relationship come to Him. Our call as a Disciple is to always pursue our commitment in humble regard for the spiritual welfare of others. We must also continue to recognize that we are instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. If we do so, the strategies of the serpent will be frustrated. We will be helping to build the Kingdom and the Body of Christ will flourish.