“THE DEVIL IS A LOSER”
by Fr. James C. Meena
In reading the Parable of the Sower (St. Luke 8:5-15), I'm impressed with the realization that God loves winners and that the Devil is a loser. Think about it for a minute. Who are the followers of God? Those who believe, who put their belief into action, who seek out the poor to help them, those who, despite all adversities, never lose faith but are steadfast. Even those who suffer and in the depth of their suffering reach out to God. They're all winners.
Consider the parable … "the seed on the wayside is the Word of God, and the devil comes and carries away the word from their heart in case they should believe and be saved." These poor people are losers, because they are the victims of the devil who is the prince of losers. "The seed that falls on a rock are people who when they first hear, welcome the Word with joy, but these have no roots; they believe for a little while and in time of trial, they give up. They are losers for they give in to the prince of losers, the Devil."
Who are the winners? People that received the Word of God as rich, fertile soil receives a seed to nourish it, to cause it to flourish and bear fruit so that others might benefit. These are winners and the homeland of winners is the Kingdom of God. Is it not clear that the Devil has nothing to do with righteous people and that the unrighteous have nothing to do with God?
Consider the black and the white of it for there's no gray zone here. Either we belong to God's Kingdom or we belong to Satan and his world. If to God then we are winners, because there is something promised and fulfilled by Him that Satan can promise but cannot deliver. If you are the kind of person who puts your faith into action, who understands that the love of God means expressing that love in your daily life and the disciplines that you impose upon yourself, worship, prayer and fasting, of ministering to people who need your help, of maintaining constant, vigilant contact with God and with your inner self through self-awareness and meditation, then the chances are, you are a winner. But if you're the kind of person who wallows in self concerns, who is always worried about worldly things, constantly frustrated by the decisions that have to be made on a daily basis and constantly compromising with the absolutes of God's Truth, the kind of person who is just too lethargic to shake loose from apathy, then the chances are you're a loser, and the devil is a loser and the prince of losers.
Anybody who will live and practice his faith has certain criteria laid out for him. Jesus really left us few Commandments, but the criteria that He did leave us are really very basic: Love God! Love your fellow man! "This Commandment I leave with you, that you love one another even as I have loved you". That makes you a winner. And when we fail to love as He loved, then we become losers.
St. Augustine said in reference to this, "Love, then do as you please", and that's Orthodox. Now we can talk about "end of time" prophecies and preaching, about "born again" ministries, about any kind of criterion you want, but it all boils down to that one idea, when we love as Christ exemplifies love, we can do as we please because it is then impossible for us to violate any of the criteria which He has set down for us. In other words, if you love as Jesus loved, you're always a winner. Even when we are in trouble, in pain, in conflict, if we love as He loved, we can never be losers.
I remember people in my ministry who, no matter how difficult things became, never lost faith in God. I look upon the faces of very dear people who have suffered the loss of loved ones, the premature death of children, personal pain and suffering, business tribulations, problems in school, trouble with raising their children or children who are having problems with their parents, and yet have never lost faith. These are the real winners. They're the ones who, no matter how bad things seem on the face of the earth, believe the promise that they are going to be victorious in the end and live life joyfully.
I have also looked upon a sea of faces of those who are very close to the edge of succumbing to satanic wiles. People who are grudge bearers, who find it hard to forgive, who find it easy to exaggerate their ill feelings about others, people who don't get along with their brothers, their sisters, their parents, who only complain about life. I warn you who are toying around with the devil's wiles, don't allow your life to pass you by in anger and in grudge-bearing against those whom God has given you to love, because then you are on the brink of being a loser, and the devil is a loser.
From Word Magazine
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America