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How to Confront Doubts and Temptations

April 29th, 2010
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“We must know this and be guided by it when we must step forth to preach and confess the Word. Then indeed we shall find out, both on the outside among our enemies and on the inside among ourselves, when the devil himself will attack you and show you how hostile he is to you, in order that he may bring you into sorrow, impatience, and heaviness of heart, and inflict every plague on you. Who does all this? Surely not Christ or any good spirit; it is the accursed, desperate enemy. He shoots such darts into your heart, not because you are a sinner as others are, adulterers, thieves, and the like. No, he does so because he is hostile to you for being a Christian. He cannot suffer that you are known as a Christian, that you cleave to Christ, or that you speak or think a good word about Him. He would like to embitter your heart with sheer venom and gall, and cause you to blaspheme: “Why did He make me a Christian? Why do I not desert Him? Then I would at least have peace!”

“Therefore be prepared, so that when you experience and feel these temptations either in your official capacity or especially in your heart, you can confront the devil and say: “Now I see why the devil assails me in this way. He wants to scare and drive me from my office, from my preaching, my confession, and my faith, and to make me despondent. He does not want me to expect anything good from my Lord Christ or to praise, honor, or call upon Him. For the devil is Christ’s sworn and declared enemy. But I despise you and your power, you accursed devil. I am determined to defy you and to preach and praise this Man all the more, to comfort my heart with His blood and death, and to put my trust in Him, even if you and all hell should burst asunder.” This you must learn and practice if you want to remain with Christ. For the devil strives to tear us away from Christ. And it is the nature of our flesh to pay Christ no heed but even to hate Him, whom we should really accord every honor and should cherish as our heart’s comfort and joy.”

Martin Luther, LW 24
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