“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
There is an acknowledgement in this prayer, given to us by Jesus, that evil is a reality – and that it stems from the ‘evil one’ himself. Fallen humankind has become very open to temptation whilst the way of the Lord is to resist it because we have a different and higher vision. On the road of Life along which the Lord will lead us we will encounter many trials and temptations. He does not cause them – in fact many will be of our own making – but can use them to strengthen and teach us as well as show us more of His love, power and faithfulness. The prayer commences with an acknowledgement of our weakness in asking that He leads us along paths where the temptations will not be too great for us in our present state of life and faith.
Jesus experienced for Himself the reality of the devil’s attacks in the temptations that He underwent in the desert at the beginning of His ministry. He also faced them during His ministry as they came through others and as He prayed and suffered in Gethsemane. He confronted their reality too in people from whom He cast out evil spirits.
Scripture gives us one of the reasons for Jesus coming to earth,
“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8)
The early church warned believers to be aware of the devil.
- “Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11)
- “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
The Christian is drawn into the conflict that exists as the devil tries to inflict harm on God by attacking His people and leading them astray – not only into obvious sins but also into doubt and confusion.
As believers we are equipped with the Bible – the Word of God – which we should know so well that we will immediately recognise what is counterfeit or contrary to its teachings and revelation. We have been blessed with the Holy Spirit of God Who lives within us. We believe in the Messiah Who has defeated the enemy and will come again to finally destroy him. We are thus enabled to Recognise that the devil is at work in the world, to Refuse to accept the thoughts that he gives us, and to Resist his efforts to draw us off the Way of God.
In our own power we are not up to it. But in the faith and power of God we can stand firm. If and when we do fall we must remember that Jesus stoops beside us – not to belittle us as we lie face down in the mud but, even at that very moment, to deliver us from evil, to encourage us, and help us to stand again and ‘have another go at Life!’
Praise be to our glorious, loving and gracious Saviour!
Never give up believing and trusting in Jesus our Saviour.
Father, deliver me from evil – today, tomorrow and every day – when I stand and when I fall; for Jesus sake. Amen.