“Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you”

In the Gospel for today the Lord gave his disciples power over the devil and all of the evil spirits. There are two mistakes that people make with regard to these evil spirits.  They either consider themselves too modern to give any credence to the existence of personal evil powers that actively work against us.  This, of course, is not consistent with the teaching of our Lord, the Apostles, nor of the experience of millions of Orthodox Christians throughout the last two millenia.  People who do not accept the existence of the devil will be easy prey for him, since they do not even perceive that there is an enemy that they must fight against.

On the other hand there are those who excessively fear and give too much power to the evil one.  They feel defeated and wave the white flag even before they have begun to fight.  Every evil action in their lives they blame on the devil.  This of course is also not consistent with our faith nor with the above Gospel text.  The Lord has given us victory over every evil spirit.  If we resist them, they must flee from us.  St. John tells us “4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1Jo 4:4 NKJ) The devil and evil powers only energize us to do evil and deceive us only when we have freely chosen to give this power to them by choosing evil over good.  And almost always we choose evil over good because of our pride.  St. James lays this out very clearly in his epistle; “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (Jam 4:7-10 NKJ)

So my beloved in Christ Jesus, we must rejoice that our names are written in heaven.  We have no need to fear the evil spirits but we must fear only our pride, which wounds us, and gives power to the evil one over us. If we pursue humility in our life, in our relationships with loved ones, and in our relationships with those who oppose or insult us-then the devil and all of His evil spirits will disappear as a soap bubble bursts when it touches our hand.