DAILY CATHOLIC -    Tuesday, February 24, 1998   volume 9, no. 39



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Twenty-seventh Installment: Measuring Maturity Don't underestimate the power of the devil

     Do you believe in human dignity? Psalm 8:5 says we are a little less than the angels. What tremendous dignity! What is your reaction to a bum on the street, a drunk on skid row, unshaven, unkempt, wallowing in his own vomit? Do you experience only revulsion? Or do you say, "'here' a suffering Christ?" Do you hate the sin but not the sinner (Jude 23)? Do you see that person as a diamond in the mud? A diamond is no less precious because it is in the mud. There is a person made in the image and likeness of God paid for by the blood of Jesus, loved by God infinitely. If I walk by, muttering, "What scum!", somethingís wrong with my faith; it isnít the faith that works through charity. I havenít seen by faith the full reality there. If I put on the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), then I see the person the way Christ does, with a heart bleeding with compassion for each suffering human. Our appreciation of human dignity, especially in the poor, the sick, the lowly, reflects our secondary faith in the revealed mandate, and through that, our primary faith is measured.

      If you believe in God, then you must believe in His revealed truth. Do you believe in the reality of demonic influence? Ephesians 6 reminds us that we are not fighting against mere flesh and blood, but against principalities and power of darkness. Do you believe that you might be contaminated with a spirit of doubt, a spirit of divorce, a spirit of selfishness, a spirit of addiction? Are you prepared to admit that you might be contaminated with the forces of evil? All Christians are at one time or another under the influence of the devil; even Jesus was, in terms of temptation (Matthew 4:1). Or course, He did not succumb to the temptations and commit sin, but He was certainly tempted and that in itself is a degree of demonic influence.

      Do you ever take dominion over those forces? To those who believe, Jesus gives His authority to cast out demons. Do you ever practice any exorcistic prayer? Do you ask God to cast out a spirit of infirmity that may be causing or aggravating your arthritis, or a spirit of doubt that is inhibiting your faith? Especially if youíve had experience with drugs, the occult, astrology, transcendental meditation, reincarnation theories, Eastern religions, et cetera, you have probably been affected by contaminatory forces of evil. Scripture says you can take authority over these things. Do you believe it? If you donít, or if you donít act as if you believe it, then your (secondary) faith in the God who revealed it is weak.

Next Installment: Measuring Maturity Don't waste your time, but believe!

February 24, volume 9, no. 39         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS