Whom does the devil torment more?

The devil fights everybody, because he wants to take them all to hell. But he torments the most the virtuous ones, those who fervently pursue „the good fight of faith”[1], those who have a rich spiritual fruitage. Just as the children throw stones in the nut trees with fruits, in the same way the devil throw stones at those who have spiritual fruitage. And just as the thief goes to steal where are found earthly treasures, in the same way the devil goes to steal from places where are found spiritual fruits.

Saint Hrisostom says that „ the thief does not come where is rush and grass, but where are the gold, the silver and the pearls. He does not go to rob straw huts or wodden barracks. Cause there are no valuable things. He goes instead to the rich homes, with plenty of money, silver, gold or other precious things.

He goes to tables and… where he would fill his sack. Likewise the devil „does not enter where is the lewd, the foul, the rapacious, the covetous”. (EPE 33, 406).

He does not go to fight those lacking virtue, the foul, the rapacious, the covetous, for they are possessed by that addiction and he cheats them easily. He has to strain more when he goes to fight with the struggling monks, who walk faithfully on the path of sanctification or the Christians who struggle full of zeal and awareness.

In another homily, the saint with golden words remarks that the pirates do not attack the ships that carry sand, cause sand is a cheap and heavy material, that no one bothers to carry on his back. The pirates attack the ships that carry uncountable fortunes or very valuable goods.

In the same way the devil attacks the Christians who have virtue and holiness[2]. From  the Holy Scripture we find that the devil sent his hound dogs and tried to kill the fire prophet Elijah.

He imprisoned and cut the head of the preacher of repentance, the honored Forerunner!

He threw his poisoned arrows at the wise and handsome Joseph, who was a spiritual diamond, a foreshadower of Christ!

He tormented the long-suffering Job, who was a righteous, God-fearing man and who receded from everything was evil and deceitful.

He is such a relentless, unwavering tempter that he went in the desert to entice even our Lord!

How does he attack our lives?

The men hater does the same with us. If he sees that we walk steadfastly on the path of God’s commendments, he tries to divert us. If he sees that we confess Christ, he tries to silence us. If he sees that we do good, he brings us obstacles for stopping us. If he sees that we pray ardently, he brings us yawns and drowsiness for ceasing our prayers. He watches how we worship God.

If he sees that our thoughts fly far away or are filled with the noise of the wordly worries, the devil is very content.

But if we attend the Divine services, he starts fighting us. He brings back memories from our childhood, works we left unfinished, urgent calls we had to make and so many others of this kind. And if he does not succeed to divert our attention, he calls other demons to help him. He watches how we study the Holy Gospel.

If he sees that our mind does not understand in their depth the divine words, the devil does not worry much. But if we are a good ground and listen to the word of God with a good grace and study it ardently day and night and hide it deeply in our heart as a treasure and make a life advice from it, the devil makes the impossible become possible in order to stop us reading the divine word and do something else.

From what’s been written we understand how sly is the enemy, how deceitful are his crafts and how hard he tries to cheat us by this means, how furiously he accomplishes his devilish work and how skillfully he uses any opportunity for diverting us. But we should not fear him,

Because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4, 4). We should learn to discover his decoys and take precautions in due time, in order that Satan might not outwit us, for we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2, 11), Apostle Paul writes. But more than anything else we should humble ourselves, cause the devil does not bear humility. As soon as we humble ourselves, he goes away.

Therefore, we should not leave our ramparts, no matter how hard we would be tormented by the devil.

The soul that’s not idle stirs the devils against himself.

But when temptations multiply, the rewards multiply as well, saint John Climacus says.

[1]see 1 Timotheios 6, 12.
[2]Homily at Job.

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