The Slavery of Satiety

“... Do not give place to the devil.” — Ephesians 4:27

“The direct effect of satiety is weakening of attention and allowing of exceptions to oneself, whoever permits this will begin to slide downhill on a slippery slope. This is a danger, so watch.” –St. Theophan the Recluse, Art of Prayer

“Excuses will never be in accordance with the life of repentance, not with the life of humility.” –Pope Shenouda III

“Nobody’s perfect.” “I’m only human.” “The Lord knows my heart.” We have all used these and other phrases to excuse ourselves from some “minor” sin or another. It is easier to do this in light of the wickedness around us. Sure, one might lust or look at porn. “Hey, I don’t go around raping or molesting anybody.” We may harbor anger in our hearts and minds. “But, I never shot anybody.” As long as we do not commit any sin to the level of social crime, it is easy to be complacent in the Christian life.

H. H. Patriarch Shenouda III of Alexandria of the Coptic Orthodox Church

The problem with this attitude is that we fail to struggle against the sin in the soul because it is unseen. Granted, we all run the risk of falling into temptation. The proper thing to do is to not give room to even the thought of sin. If we do sin, we confess and repent. Perhaps with advice from a spiritual father or mother, we do something with our prayer rule to help us overcome the habit, repair the damage done, or find a way to grow stronger. Whatever we do, the sin must not be written off as insignificant and unimportant, even if no one seems to be harmed.

Satan is no different than the slave owners of the Antebellum period of our nation. As long as the slaves were accepting and complacent in their lot, the master and overseers barely cracked a whip. Occasionally, these cruel actors would brutally torture and even kill a compliant servant to keep the others obedient and in line. The devil and his minions are more than pleased to keep us on a plantation of “minor” wickedness. To keep us “satisfied” with where we are, they will drag a complacent soul to do something outrageously horrible. When we see it, we think to ourselves, “At least I’m not like … . At least I didn’t do that.”

Theophan the Recluse

As we are nearing the Nativity of our Lord, this is a good time to re-evaluate where we are spiritually. Spend time contemplating strengths and weaknesses in our walk in Christ. Speak with a spiritual guide to find ways to grow stronger and make a good confession. A challenge of reading something in the Bible, or another spiritual book can also be helpful. Avoid the trap of satiety.

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