Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Devil is closer than our shirt.

"The Devil is closer than our shirt"

A Christian should know that he is sitting among devils and that he devil is closer to him than his coat or shirt, nay, closer than his own skin.  He should know that the devil is about us everywhere;  he and we are constantly in one another's hair, and we must fight with him, testifies the proverb:  It is not necessary to draw a picture over the door.--The first thing, then, is to hold firmly that the devil exists and that he is much closer to us than the shirt on our body.

From Scripture it is clear that the devil sends evil thoughts into the heart of a man and holds minds captive.  Of Judas it is said:  "Satan entered into him"  (John 13:27).  And he not only knew the thoughts of Cain but also suggested to him that he murder his brother.  However, he does not know all the thoughts of the pious until they come out into the open.  For Christ is too strong for him.  As he does not know what is in the heart of Christ, so he cannot penetrate into the souls of the pious, where Christ dwells.  But he is a powerful spirit, whom Christ even calls the prince of this world.  He shoots terrible thoughts into the heart:  hatred of God, blasphemy, and despair.  These are his "fiery darts."  St. Paul realized to some extent what these darts are when he felt the thorn in his flesh.

(What Luther says.  Anthology.  "Devil". )

"Jesus, hilf siegen. wenn in mir die Suende,
Eigenlieb, Hoffart und Missgunst sich regt,
Wenn ich die Last der Begierden empfinde
und sich mein tiefes Verderben darlegt:
hilf mir, dass ich vor mir selbst mag erroeten
und durch dein Leiden
mein suendlich Fleisch toeten."

(Johann Heinrich Schroeder)

In English:

"Jesus, give victory, when I am attacked by sin,
love of self, pride and jealousy,
when I feel the load of desires,
and my deep depravity becomes revealed to myself:
help, that I may blush to myself,
and that I may mortify the flesh,
through Your suffering."

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