I have noticed that temptation can approach people in many different ways and the enemy often uses our own ignorance in order to trick and seduce us into caving in and committing sin. This post I have decided to focus on fasting. I know I am not supposed to be telling people I am currently fasting but I feel the need to, not out of vanity and the desire to be seen fasting but to give examples of how I am feeling and often try to cope with the temptation and/or how it approaches me.
At present I have been doing a 40 day fast for the unborn under the invitation of Archbishop Eamonn Martin who is the Irish archbishop of Armagh and will be next year primate of all Ireland.
I decided to fast on alcohol. It all went well for the first two weeks but then the temptation really began. The temptation however usually arose strongest in me when I became upset. If I became upset after a disagreement or petty argument with my wife, or became stressed with looking after the kids for a lengthy period of time, the idea of a nice beer sounded great. One has to ask, why would I become tempted after these instances and why is upsetness and stress related to alcohol?
It’s not a medicine. It’s just a nice beverage I like to enjoy. But suddenly the enemy is presenting alcohol to me as something that can help me, something that can relieve my stress and help me forget the argument and aid relaxation. But alcohol, although relieves anxiety, is in effect the cause of anxiety and depression. If such a person as myself is experiencing a short moment of depression or anxiety, alcohol should be the last thing I need right?
Again we have the illusion set out before us by the devil, that something which will pleasure the flesh for sometime, will in the long run destroy the soul. It has been his trick since Adam and Eve. He presented to them the fruit in the garden of Eden as something delicious and nice to eat and that becoming like God and knowing good and evil was to their benefit. But we all know that it was just another illusory seductive puff of smoke set up to look good but in the end was a lie. They ( Adam and Eve ) ate of the fruit but the immediate effect was their death and banishment from the garden.
So when we buy into drinking alcohol to get rid of a problem and not to merely enjoy an ice cold beverage, we are buying into the devils lie. There is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol, but when you become interested in alcohol only at the expense of relieving your mental pain, then you have bought the lie and no longer enjoying alcohol but abusing it. Of course seeking out alcohol to relieve stress may not be a sin, but it is the deceptive path the devil lays out that will lead us to commit sin. The enemy wants to toy with his prey before he devours it. Likes to lead it into that trap.
So how do we authentically get rid of a problem? Prayer and adoration of God in silent meditation. When we seek physical fleshly means in place of spirtitual, we seek worldly devilish means that will only lead us to death and not to life.
Merely recognising this part of the trap won’t help me keep fasting, only prayer. However I must admit my temptation has been strong this past few days mainly because my prayer has all but been scant. So please pray for me and with me. I try my own tactics when tempted and that is to think of all the unborn babies in the hands of abortionists like Kermit Gosnell and others around the world. I hear their silent screams and cries for help and this along with Gods grace of whose grace I am unworthy of, is helping me to burn the arrows of the evil one that so often befall my sinful soul. I am hanging in there if only by a mere piece of thread.