The devil is real. It took a long time for me to realize the depth of that truth. Of course I knew he existed, but I never gave much thought to him, and never cared to, until he covered my marriage in the slime of his lies. I had no choice but to face him, and sadly…sometimes I didn’t realize I was looking at him and I let his lies seep into my heart.
Men are visual. It’s normal to look at porn. Men are disgusting and I wish I never got married. I hate my life. I hate my marriage. I thought it was so beautiful, a fairytale, but it was all lies. My husband ruined me. He ruined us. We’ll never be happy again. I will suffer in this marriage for the rest of my life.
The poisonous lies of the devil. You would assume they would drip onto your tongue like bitter medicine and fight their way to your heart. Not so. Satan’s poison drizzles onto your tongue like sweet, sweet honey and goes down smooth. It feels good to listen to lies, because his lies always pour chocolate on the same sweet spot: our love for ourselves.
When George hurt me with his porn struggle, I loved listening to the devil. I would have never told you that before. I would have said I was taking care of myself, trying to figure out how to heal. In reality, the lies went down like honey, but when they settled in my heart the poison started to ruin me. I still wanted to blame my husband for everything that happened to our marriage, but it wasn’t until I asked myself one question that I knew my life would change.
I found an old journal entry during a particularly painful day of insecurities and bitterness. I reread the line over and over and over again, trying to figure out whether I wanted to allow myself to see the truth or not. The journal said, “I want to make Jesus smile, not the devil.”
I asked myself, “Who are you making smile right now?”
And I knew the answer. Oh, how the devil loves porn. He knows it’s such an easy trap. Get the guys while they are young and too weak to fight off the temptation to lust. Get the girls when they are young and too weak to fight off the temptation to be insecure. Then, when they grow up they will already be filled up with lies and pain, and it will be so much easier to ruin their marriages. In fact, they won’t even blame the devil for the deterioration. They’ll blame each other.
I knew I was making the devil smile because I was blaming my husband. And I was so focused on myself. Just like a man using women for self-pleasure, I was using my insecurities as a way to feel sorry for myself and make excuses to avoid pain. In essence, I used self-pity for self-pleasure. I didn’t want to work through my husband’s issues. I didn’t want to deal with the fact that he thought other women were attractive. I didn’t want to deal with the changes to my body after having children. I didn’t want to deal with my own insecurities. I wanted to blame my husband so I could feel better about myself.
Underneath of it all, I didn’t want humility. I wanted to feel good about myself in every way, whatever the cost. Being brought low didn’t appeal to me. Forgiving my husband and taking responsibility for my own issues didn’t appeal to me. I loved myself too much for that. And I didn’t love others enough.
I swallowed the seed of pride and allowed it to germinate in my heart. Yes, I made the devil smile as his little seed flourished. And from that point on I was determined to never allow that to happen again.
To be continued in my next post: “Making the Devil Mad”
“There are but few men who are led by their reason, most of them are fewer, indeed, who act from an illuminated faith, or from reason enlightened by faith; but shall we find a single one who admits no guide but a blind faith, which, though it leads him straight to God by the short road of abandonment, seems, nevertheless, to precipitate him into abysses from which he has no hope of ever escaping? There are, however, some such souls, who have noble trust enough to be blindfolded, and led they know not whither. Many are called, but few are willing to enter, and they who have most fully surrendered themselves to the sway of their senses, their passions, their reason, and the distinct illuminations of faith, are they who have the greatest difficulty in plunging into the gulf of the blindest and most naked faith; whereas the simple souls enter with ease. It is the same as with the shipwrecked; those who know how to swim, or who have perhaps seized a plank of the ship, struggle and contend for a long while before they drown; but those who cannot swim, and who have nothing to sustain them, are instantly submerged, and, sinking without a struggle beneath the surface, die and are delivered from their suffering” (Francois De Fenelon, Spiritual Maxims, #31).
“The soul that is destined to have no other support but God himself, must pass through the strangest trials. How much agony and how many deaths must it suffer before losing the life of self! It will encounter no purgatory in the other world, but it will feel a terrible hell in this; a hell not only of pain—that would be a small matter—but also of temptations its own resistance to which it does not perceive; this is the cross of crosses, of all sufferings the most intolerable, of all deaths the most despairing” (Francois De Fenelon, Spiritual Maxims, #33).
“Would you exert all your powers to attain Divine Union? Use all your strength for the destruction of self.
Be so much the enemy of self as you desire to be the friend of God” (Spritual Maxims #8 and #9).
—All my self life did before was drive me into continuous troubles. But now as I walk in repentance all it does is continuously attempt to congratulate me and promise me that it will never drive into trouble again, but only take me to where it can purchase good virtues for me at the nearest convenience store.
I have been called “puritanical,” and even a “dehumanizer of the gospel of grace,” even on this blog site. And for that I am truly grateful; for what better way for my awful self-life to be dealt death blows. When I meditate on maxims like these of Fenelon, it opens my eyes to the deception of my self-life and brings me low-you know where Jesus is…washing feet; exactly where self does NOT want to be!
Ashley, thank you for walking in the light as He is in the light. Thank you for your integrity and honesty. This encourages me to discourage all that I think is good about me.