An eighteen-year-old Dutch student planned a trip to Sydney, Australia. Delighted to find a plane ticket online that was cheaper than all the rest, he booked his flight. He arrived at the airport, boarded his plane, and all seemed well. But then he saw his connecting flight, a small Air Canada plane coming out of Toronto. He wondered if the plane could make it to Australia. The plane landed unexpectedly too soon. When he disembarked, he found himself in near blizzard conditions, with nothing but a light jacket on. This was not the warm Australian air expected. Apparently, he booked a flight to Sydney, Canada!
In a far graver way, we are tempted every day to embark on courses that pull us away from our Heavenly Father and his heavenly-kingdom way of living.
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray to be delivered from “evil.” When we consider how the gospel writer Matthew uses this term, a more accurate translation is “Evil One.” This last petition of the Prayer, “Deliver us from evil,” is the flip side of the second to last petition, “Lead us not into temptation.” The source of the temptation is the Evil One – “the Ancient Serpent, the Devil, Satan, who leads the world astray (Revelation 12:9).”
Talk of the Devil may seem archaic to modern sensibilities. Yet, throughout Scripture his existence and devilish schemes are attested. Even in contemporary experience, the Nazi Regime and terrorist attacks attest to some outside influence that seduces people to commit appalling violence.
The Evil One is quick to take advantage of a desire for national sovereignty, religious interests, or any other aspiration – no matter how noble – to tempt us. He seeks above all else to lead people away from God. Like certain types of chameleons blend themselves into their background, he adapts his temptations to his target. He is far more apt to tempt a single mother on a limited income to steal than a CEO making millions of dollars. On the other hand, Jesus did not say it was impossible for the thief to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but did say it was impossible for a rich man.
Though the battles continue, Jesus ultimately and eternally defeated the Evil One. We need not brawl with him. Instead, we look to Christ and rest in his deliverance. Prayer voices our dependence on our Heavenly Father to deliver us. How might you rest in Christ’s deliverance from the Evil One today?
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