Is there a real enemy of your soul? Does the devil exist?
We live in a culture where we do not see much of the activity of evil spirits. We seem to be so easily led astray by materialism or sensuality or hedonism (self absorption) that there is little need for evil spirits to manifest themselves.
I have heard many, many stories of those that serve the Lord in foreign cultures of the exact opposite. For them, the existence and manifestation of evil spirits is common. If I did not know these people personally, or at least know them as sane people by reputation, I would be suspect. Regardless, the stories of demons are manifest and sometimes scary.
As we read v. 13 again, Jesus tells us to pray for deliverance from the evil one! He himself was tempted by the devil in the desert (Luke 4:1ff.). Peter warns us to be self-controlled and alert because our enemy the devil prowls around seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). That is not nice language. Devour? Surely that sounds like an overstatement to my Western cultured, overly educated, overly medicated, overly cynical, overly materialistic ears!
Could it be that we are not as smart or aware as we should be? At our missions conference this past week, one of the foreign missionaries, with 40 years in Papua New Guinea, said he could see the spiritual darkness and influence of demons all over America. What do you do with that data? We can mark him as a psycho in need of meds or we can humble ourselves and pay attention to our surroundings and pray for deliverance from the evil one. Either Jesus and these missionaries have it right or we do. Take your pick.
Read: Matthew 6:9-13
9Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’
The bible describes the devil as an angel of light. The bible also says he is a liar and the father of lies (or the source of all lying). So, if we combine light and lies how should you expect to be tempted? Wouldn’t it look like normal life? Very subtle.
This is a command. The prayer is a command for God to protect us. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that God is to participate with us in the deliverance (middle voice). This would line up with 1 Corinthians 10:13 …
“But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”Temptation management is a partnership with God. He plays a part in protecting you but you play a part in staying under the load and not giving in to it. It is like being stranded in a foxhole during a war. You are tempted to run for it and risk getting killed in the process. Meanwhile the army is coming in full force. If you will wait, not give in, stay under the load, you will survive the foxhole.
New Living Translation
So, we are to pray to God for partnership and protection in temptation. He alone sees light and dark, He alone sees the lies and the truth. Makes sense then to pray and ask God for help in temptation.
Take time to ask God for help in temptation. Ask Him to reveal anywhere you are on the edge and at risk. Ask Him to reveal the lies and deceit of your enemy.
Are you struggling with a specific area today? Do you feel bogged down in a foxhole of temptation? Jesus asks you to talk with your Father about it. Take it upstairs to Him.
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