Why is it so hard to resist the devil, as our first reading today tells us we must do? Why do we covet what we do not possess, thus causing conflicts with our fellow parishioners or neighbors? Why do we fight with the people we're called to serve? In today's Gospel reading, Jesus tells us how important it is to be "the servant of all" rather than to covet a status where we are the ones being served.
James says to us: "Purify your hearts, you of two minds." We are of two minds because we resist giving Jesus our lives (our thoughts, our goals, our behaviors) totally. No matter how hard we try, we cannot completely belong to Jesus until we have given Jesus all of our wounds. In whatever way we are still unhealed, this is where we are vulnerable to the devil and sin.
Are there any wounds in heaven? Yes! Christ's! And because of his wounds, we are healed. The more we let him transform our wounds into blessings, the easier it becomes to resist sin.
For a wound to become a blessing, we have to unite it to Jesus' wounds on the cross. This means that we have to let Jesus turn it into a ministry that helps others.
Demons know which "buttons" to push to get us to react to life's circumstances as wounded, sinful people. For example, let's say your father was alcoholic and used drinks as an anesthetic to hide the pain he felt from not being loved enough when he was a child. Due to his disease and his own woundedness, he was not able to love you as fully as you needed.
How does this make you vulnerable to sin? If you're angry about the sins committed against you, this justified anger makes you lash out at others unjustly. The most successful way to resist the devil is to do the opposite of what he wants you to do. For this to become easy, you have to heal the root cause of your anger, which is the wound, the hole in your heart where your father (or anyone) didn't care for you enough. Forgive your father for his absence there, and let Jesus fill the emptiness with his own love.
A good Christian counselor or spiritual director can help you with this healing process. If you don't have one yet and you really want to become more like Jesus, ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the right one.
Unhealed wounds block God's love from totally getting in and filling us. The more wounds that are healed, the more we are filled with God and the less our souls are available for temptation. The spiritual battle will not end until you reach heaven, but your holiness will grow. And you will become a powerful minister to others in their own healings and their own conversions!