– by Ambrose (339-397 AD)
The devil does not have only one weapon. He uses many different means to defeat human beings: now with bribery, now with boredom, now with greed he attacks, inflicting mental and physical wounds equally.
The kind of temptation varies with the different kinds of victim. Avarice is the test of the rich, loss of children that of parents and everyone is exposed to pain of mind or body. What a wealth of weapons is at the devil’s disposal!
It was for this reason that the Lord chose to have nothing to lose. He came to us in poverty so that the devil could find nothing to take away from him. You see the truth of this when you hear the Lord himself saying:
“The prince of this world is come and has found nothing in me” [John 14:30]. The devil could only test him with bodily pain, but this too was useless because Christ despised bodily suffering.
Job was tested by his own goods, whereas Christ was tempted, during the experience of the wilderness, by the goods of all. In fact, the devil robbed Job of his riches and offered Christ the kingdom of the whole world. Job was tested by vexations, Christ by prizes. Job the faithful servant replied: “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away” [Job 1:21] Christ, being conscious of his own divine nature, scorned the devil’s offering of what already belonged to him.
So let us not be afraid of temptations. Rather, let us glory in them saying: “When I am weak, then am I strong.” [2 Cor. 12:10].
This article appeared in Living Bulwark Februrary 2010 issue. Used with permission