Spoiler alert! The bad guys lose in the end. Satan’s nickname is the devil which means slanderer and/or accuser. Satan’s mode of operation is to slander God’s word by deceivingly presenting false and blasphemous suggestions to gullible human minds. He is also the accuser of the brethren before God…using shame and guilt to maim, kill and destroy lives. And as I was staring at this word- devil – I saw why he was so aptly nicknamed this, for within that word I saw just who Satan is and what he does…evil. But his time is going to end, for within the Book of Revelation we see many passages that tell of his demise..Revelation 12:9, Revelation 9:17, and Revelation 14:10-11 for a few. Evil may exist for now…but not for long.
He is not a sadistic God that takes delight in watching the wicked die, nor is He unjust. But He is the only One that can proclaim with all certainty that His promises and judgement will prevail. So the decision-making becomes ours. Do we continue down the path of unethical and immoral actions and behaviors, or do we change course, shifting our focus from self to Jesus, and yielding up tendencies and propensities to a Savior who can forgive and save us. “Come back to Me,” the Lord is exhorting us…the invitation is there, but ultimately it becomes our responsibility to act on it.
One of the biggest differences between children and adults is the ability to control our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as grownups. We rarely see a 40 year-old having a temper-tantrum! Yet in this verse, Paul is exhorting us to be child-like regarding evil. Now he doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant, naive or easily exploited by evil, but rather, we should be innocent in our motives and thinking about it…not allowing rationalization or deception to creep into our mindset. This comes, Paul says, from growing up into spiritual maturity and taking all of our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
Godlessness can be very subtle, clever, and hardly noticeable to others. That’s because deception can be just as sly in twisting a truth ever so slightly…or planting a seed of doubt in an otherwise confident mind. For anytime we put our trust in ourselves…in our own way, we’re not putting our faith in God. We may think we’ve got this and don’t need God’s help, but Psalm 33:6 tells us that, “No king is saved by the size of his army, no warrior escapes by his great strength.” God is very direct in this verse in Hosea…if you purse godlessness, you will be destroyed. For anytime we put our hope in our own actions rather than God, we can but only reap trouble. (Job 4:8)
Whenever God is the agent of trials (temptations)…it’s for the purpose of testing, never for the purpose of causing us to fall. For God can’t be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone. (James 1:13) And with each test, He will not only never tempt you beyond what you can bear, but He will also provide a way out. (I Corinthians 10:13) But we know our biggest adversary when it comes to temptation is the devil…the evil one. In this verse of the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking to be rescued from evil or the evil one. This statement is echoed in the Prayer of Jabez which says, “..Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me far from evil, that I may not cause pain.” ( I Chronicles 4:10) NKJV So anytime we ask God to keep us from the evil one…the devil must flee.
Rebellion…if you’ve ever tried to reason with a toddler why he can’t do something, only to see him do it…you’d think we were born defiant! Unfortunately, since that moment in the Garden of Eden, humans have been on a path of revolution and resistance against God. But where has our fierce independence gotten us? Separated far from God as He looks on with great sorrow at the abject wickedness and corruption of His creation. Rebellion is the road to hell…the time is now to turn from evil and embrace obedience and submission.
In this verse Jesus so wisely observed the world’s value system both then and now. For what we treat as precious and dear, are what we value. Are they things of virtue and truth, or things of sin and wickedness? Jesus came into the world to shed illumination on our spiritual darkness…that we love evil rather than good and falsehood rather than speaking the truth.(Psalm 52:3) He declared in John 7:7, ” The world hates Me because I testify that what it does is evil.” Pray that the spiritual darkness that is enveloping the world may be lifted and banished as we seek the light.
How many times have you regretted a hurtful, unkind remark made in the heat of an argument? And thought to yourself, “I wish I could take back what I just said.” The tongue has a way of causing trouble for all of us. A flippant, or off-hand remark can cause irreparable damage to a relationship…and something we thought was said in confidence, will sometimes come back to haunt us. The whole course of our lives can be ruled and controlled by our tongues…but for God.
When we are enticed by evil, it’s always focused at our weaknesses…those things that have entangled us in the past. Our own foolishness will certainly our ruin… thinking we can’t be seduced by something that controlled us in the past. But nor can we blame God for our predicament…He is not only incapable of being tempted Himself, but He will never test us with evil.