It’s not that my wife never says anything profound. She does all the time. She’s smart and wise, and I can usually seek good advice from her. On Sunday morning she said something that hit me right between the eyes. Something so profound, I knew I needed to write about it and even preach about it someday.
It’s been a busy few months for our family. We woke up Sunday morning, and usually she’s out of bed before I am – mostly because our son drags her out. But he wasn’t awake yet, and so she had not gotten out of bed yet either. I needed to get up, because I had to work – I’m a pastor after all. Everything I do points to the Divine Service on Sunday (and Saturday in our congregation’s case). So, I showered and continued to get ready. Yet, she was still not out of bed. I thought nothing of it. She deserved the rest with all the hard work she does. However, she did eventually get up, but said she wishes she didn’t have to go to church. I would have told her she didn’t have to since she is her own person, and I don’t fear her not ever returning to go to the Church service. She did, however, need to go to the early service as the choir was going to sing – and she loves singing in the choir.
But as she slowly walked out to the kitchen to get her coffee started, she said this to me: “The Devil sure does work hardest on Sunday morning.” At first, we laughed, but as I thought about it, I realized that this is absolutely true. The Devil does his hardest work on us every Sunday morning. Why? The Devil doesn’t want us to hear that our sins are forgiven and that we have been justified freely by Christ. Satan doesn’t want his plans to be hindered by God. The last thing he wants you to do is listen to the Word made flesh who brings you new life. He wants you dead, 6 feet under. He wants to revel in God’s face that one more of His so-called little children have fallen away and will spend an eternity apart from Him. It’s not that he doesn’t work hard the other days of the week
It’s not that he doesn’t work hard the other days of the week; the Devil’s just not a nice guy, and he’s going to work on Christians the hardest. Why doesn’t he work on the world all that hard? Because he doesn’t really need to work on the world. It’s already his, and he knows it. But he wants more. He’s hungry for the souls of the found. They are the tastiest morsels he can devour. He’s going to stop at nothing to take as many down with him. He’s going to work hardest on you so that you cannot receive God’s gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation through God’s Means of Grace. Word, Baptism, The Holy Super. The devil doesn’t want you to have any of it.
Now, this may seem like I’m trying to scare you – I mean, it is scary. Yet, even those sins of thought, word, and deed that we commit every day, even despising preaching and His Word, are conquered and forgiven in Christ. All the laziness, all the times we fall into the temptations of the Devil, the World, and all the wanting to give into our sinful, fallen nature have been conquered by Christ when He gave His body and shed His blood on the Cross for you.
The Devil is strong, and we need to remember to respect that fact. But also remember – as powerful as he may be – He’s already lost. He’s like the tiger backed into the corner, ferociously fighting back. But Satan will never keep God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – away from you. In fact, God sought you out and made you His own in your Baptism and continues to nourish you with the simplest of all things: a spoken Word, and bread and wine. It’s all for you.
Take joy in knowing that the Devil works hardest on you. Take joy in your suffering for Christ’s sake. This means you belong to God. You need not fear the enemy; because Jesus says you no longer need to. Jesus fought and even now fights for you and will always fight against the evil that seeks you out. I always point out that God is always protecting us, because, if He wasn’t, things would be even worse than they already are now, a lot worse. Thanks be to God for this gift of protection from Satan, for we can now keep calm and live boldly.
When the Devil is working the hardest on you Sunday morning, give him the finger and tell him to go back to Hell where he belongs.