Who is mighty Jesus or Satan
"Evil has become a taboo subject in some places"
I am an enthusiastic Christian and try to bring my charisms into the leadership of the first communion preparation and the alpha courses, ”says Elisabeth Forstreiter from the parish of Neuguntramsdorf. She gives communion, leads the morning praise, which takes place every Tuesday at 6 am in the chapel, and she “is allowed to organize the annual parish ball together with a large team”.
After the first alpha course 4 years ago in her parish, she attended a discipleship training course and is a member of a small group. "In our parish we call it the Koinoniagruppe," says Forstreiter: "Our 4th alpha course starts in September."
In the alpha course there is also an evening about evil, Elisabeth Forstreiter has dealt more intensively with evil.
Do you think the devil exists?
Yes. I believe that there is the devil, but not like in a dualistic system where there are two personal principles, God and the devil, both of which are equally powerful.
Rather, the devil is a creature who has to submit to God. His power is limited by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and by also opposing evil.
We live in a time between the 1st coming of Jesus Christ and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ - and this time is a time of probation. Personally, I don't like to refer to evil as the devil, but rather as Satan, the adversary.
How Does the Bible Testify the Devil's Existence?
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Bible attests to the existence of the devil or Satan in different ways. Right at the beginning of Genesis 2: 9 we read of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, in Genesis 2:17 the commandment not to eat from this tree and in Genesis 3 the fall of man through the temptation of the serpent is described.
The Bible testifies to the devil as a personal evil power. We can find various names in the Bible that also testify to something about the nature of the devil: For example, in Matthew 4, 3 we read about the tempter, or in Job 1: 6 about Satan, in John 14:30 the devil becomes “ruler of the world ”.
In Matthew 10:25 we read about Beelzebul or in Revelation 12.9 about the great dragon, the old serpent called the devil or Satan and who deceives the whole world.
We read in Matthew 4: 1-12 how the devil himself wanted to deceive Jesus when Jesus went into the desert to fast.
How does the devil tempt us? How does evil bother us in life?
Often we think that temptation is lurking around us, but it starts within us, in our minds. Jesus points this out to us in Mark 7: 21-23 when he said: "For from within, from the heart of men, evil thoughts come ..."
I believe that there is what I call “Divine Selves” in each and every one of us humans. This is our identity as we were individually and uniquely created by God.
And then there is our “ego” that cannot be satisfied and always strives for more. This “ego” in us is also the point of attack for the devil. It arouses longings or needs in us, which often start in the very small and can express themselves to envy, hatred or jealousy or arouse false fears and doubts in us.
I have made the experience that wherever the love of Jesus deepens, the adversary is also at work. This often manifests itself, for example, in conflicts or intrigues that suddenly arise.
Do we have the wrong idea of the devil?
Certainly there are false images of the devil. All conventional images, such as the little red man with boxing horns, horse's feet and smelling of sulfur, do not work and therefore the temptation is great to believe that he does not exist.
What concerns me much more, however, is that “evil” has become a taboo subject in some areas of the church. It is either not talked about at all or played down. I have the impression that the devil is seen as “an image from the old days”, as something conservative.
In the history of the Catholic Church the image of the devil has been used again and again to scare people or to exercise power. I don't experience that anymore today. Rather, I experience that we find it difficult to talk about the word sin. Sin is everything that separates us from God. Above all, this includes evil.
Nowadays, however, I find it all the more important that evil is also an issue. It should never get the upper hand, but we should always be aware that it exists and that it is up to us to choose temptation or Jesus.
Temptations are always there to deepen our relationship with God. There are opportunities. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read that the tests to which our faith is put never go beyond the ordinary.
God is faithful and he will not allow trials to be beyond our strength. Whenever we are tested by God, He will always see to it that we can pass it.
How can we resist evil, how do we overcome evil?
By living in close relationship and friendship with Jesus and being vigilant. By knowing that through baptism we are children of God.
When strong doubts or, for example, thoughts of envy arise in me, I consciously deny the adversary in prayer and confess that I am a child of God and ask the Holy Spirit for his guidance and healing of my thoughts.
I find what we read at Ephesians 6: 10-20 very encouraging. Namely about our equipment for battle: the belt of truth, the armor of justice, the shoes of readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Pray and be vigilant!
After we are all on the way, we humans do not succeed in completely overcoming evil here on earth, but trusting that the Holy Spirit leads and directs us, I feel strengthened to be on the way, to resist evil and to recognize temptations .
In the Catholic Church we have the sacrament of penance, which invites us to the forgiveness of sins. With a good confessor, one can speak openly about one's sins, temptations, or evil thoughts and receive healing through the power of the Holy Spirit.
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