The Spiritual Meadow on the Devil’s War Against Monks
People of our times often deny the existence of temptations sent by the devil. They are convinced that the devil does not exercise any influence over them, that he never bothers them, and that they need not worry about the devil’s evil devices. Are those people right or not? In my opinion, they are right on the one hand and totally wrong on the other hand. While it might be true that the devil does not plot against them, it isn’t correct to contend that he does not attack anyone at all. There must be a reason why the devil does not fight against those people.
Abba Marcellus told his disciples the following story. One night, he woke up for his usual prayer and suddenly heard the sound of trumpet and the noise of a battle. The elder was baffled and perplexed. “Where does this sound of trumpet come from and what battle can occur in the middle of the desert?” While he was thinking about it, a demon appeared in front of him and shouted, “What are you thinking about? There is a battle going on here, indeed; but if you don’t want us to attack you, just go back to bed and sleep, and we won’t do anything to you. We don’t fight the lazy ones; we deal only with those who fast and are vigilant in prayers. That’s who we fight against.”
Now you can see why the devil doesn’t disturb sinners. Indeed, why would the devil attack those who are already in his power? Why would he care about maintaining that power if they don’t even think of lifting his yoke? No, brothers, people like those don’t interest him. He wants to attack people like Job, John the Longsufferer, Anthony, Mary of Egypt, John of Novgorod, Poemen, Macarius and others like them; and not those who are eager to serve him obediently.
The Word of God rightfully warns us that the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) and that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Let us keep that in mind at all times. Like soldiers, let us constantly wear all the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:11) in case the devil attacks us. Amen.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds