Now consider the following…
Diabolical Doughnut Scenario:
Part 1 - The World is Out to Get Me
Let us say that I come across a batch of doughnuts - and not just any ol’ doughnuts either, but Krispy Kremes! And they are piping hot as if baked in the very ovens of hell itself!
There is a temptation to overindulge in them, and so far the temptation we are talking about here is that which arises from the world (so let us not take the whole “ovens of hell” thing too seriously…yet).
Part 2 - I am Out to Get Me
One doughnut is simply dessert, but a dozen doughnuts is the sin of gluttony. But I find myself desiring to overindulge in them because I have a tendency to resort to food as a source of comfort. I have had a hard day, and am looking for a quick and easy way to feel good and relieve stress. But instead of turning to Jesus to help me bear the burden of the day, or to the Holy Spirit to be my comforter (which is, after all, one of his titles) I am willing to turn to a plate of doughnuts to do the job. In terms of temptation, we are now in the realm of concupiscence.
Part 3 - The Devil is Out to Get Me
As I ponder whether of not to dive into the doughnuts, the doughnuts tempt me simply through the sensual appeal they have (i.e., the wonderful aroma, the steam, the dripping icing), and this is a worldly temptation. Plus, I find myself craving the doughnuts in a glutenous way and I envision how tasty it would be to scarf them down. This is concupiscence, and it includes me talking myself into the sinful deed. So where does the devil come in?
In addition to me trying to talk myself into committing the sin of gluttony, there may be another “voice” in my head egging me on. This is a voice that “fuels the fire” of temptation, saying things like, "Go ahead and enjoy this opportunity! After all, you’ve had a hard day so you deserve a nice snack! And come on, is this really a sin? With all the wars and poverty and crime in the world do you think that God really cares if you eat a plate of doughnuts? What’s the big, freaking deal, anyway? It’s not like you’re gonna die of doughnut poisoning! So knock it off with this stupid screwed up scrupulosity and scarf down a doughnut or two, or twelve!”
But then, after the deed is done and I’ve finished licking the icing off my fingers (it’s kinda part of the ritual – after all, we are talking about Krispy Kremes here), that same “voice” comes back and says, “Oh, how could you? How could you fall into temptation so easily? What kind of pathetic excuse of a Christian are you? So let me get this straight - Jesus got mocked, spit upon, beaten until he was bloody, got nailed to a cross and died in agony so you could pig out on doughnuts??? Jesus must be disgusted with you! Why don’t you at least do him the favor of sparing him your pathetic pleas for forgiveness? After all, do you think Jesus actually likes having to listen to little spiritual wimps like you?”
The devil starts off as our tempter and ends up being our accuser. If the devil took a holiday then what is displayed by the voice in Part 3 would probably not be taking place, at least not with the force I described. Of course, due to concupiscence we are all capable of tempting ourselves, and due to natural feelings of guilt and contrition we are capable of accusing ourselves. But, as I said before, the devil “adds fuel to the fire” (of both temptation and guilt), ramping things up and with the double goal of wanting us to be slaves to sin and reluctant to ask God for forgiveness. And he is also perfectly happy to inject feelings of temptation and guilt if we didn’t already get the ball rolling on our own.
And as a final thought, if the devil took a holiday then Johnny’s chances of getting a fiddle of gold are pretty much “ziltch.”