Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13
During our recent visit with my son in Australia, he and my husband decided to have a movie marathon. For three consecutive nights, they did their male macho thing and watched Rambo movies. Normally I don’t like those kinds of movies, but I wanted to stay up and be part of the camaraderie, so I bared with it for the three nights.
John Rambo characterizes a Vietnam war veteran and Green Beret. He comes through a small town with a very prideful and prejudiced sheriff who conjures up Rambo’s PTSD by taunting and falsely accusing him. Rambo is forced to use all of his training in guerilla warfare tactics to defend himself while being hunted by the sheriff and his deputies. Though fictitious, the characters of John Rambo and Sheriff Teasle represent real people, attitudes and feelings. The movies illustrate the diverse and complex opinions of war, especially the Vietnam War.
Whether you dislike or agree with war or Rambo movies, I think it’s safe to say most women don’t like war movies. We’d choose a chick flick over fighting and violence any day. (Bring on the Hallmark Christmas movies!) But when we became a Christian, we entered the spiritual military. Like it or not, there is a very real spiritual war going on. The very words of Matthew 6:13 (above) imply spiritual warfare is a reality. Why would we need to be delivered from an evil enemy if he doesn’t exist? First Peter 2:11 tells us the passions of the flesh “wage war” against our souls. And that’s why 1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil prowls around seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).
The fiercest battle we face as Christ followers is temptation and sin. That’s why Jesus included in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation” and “Forgive us our debts…” And that’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13–18 to put on the full armor of God.
Just as soldiers wouldn’t go to war without their weapons fully loaded, we cannot expect to win battles against the devil’s army without our spiritual weapons loaded and ready. What are those weapons? Ephesians 6:13-18 details them… (click to tweet)
- truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, salvation, and the sword of spirit, which is the Word of God; then verse 18 wraps it up as though the Apostle Paul wanted to make sure we remember it so he listed it last – prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 explains we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and the cosmic powers over this present darkness, the spiritual forces of evil. And 2 Corinthians 10:4 tells us our weapons are not of the flesh either, and that they have divine power to destroy strongholds. Ephesians 6:16 informs us our faith will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. When we use these weapons against our spiritual enemy, we will be able to stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). And we are told when we use them (resist the devil), he will flee (James 4:7).
The Bible is an armory full of spiritual weapons!
But we must know our weapons and how to use them. Like any soldier, we must attend spiritual boot camp and participate in ongoing training or we will not be prepared for the inevitable battles of spiritual warfare.
My oldest son served in the United States Marine Corps. They have extensive classroom training as well as rigorous physical training. They are trained to know their weapons inside and out. For example, they must take their rifle apart, clean it, and put it back together literally hundreds of times so they know it as well as they know their name and can readily use it in the dark or under any kind of sudden pressure.
Like the military, our classroom training is the Word of God. Prayer is our physical training. Our weapons are the pieces of armor in Ephesians 6. Just as in the military, we must have all three to be fully knowledgeable, proficiently skilled, and masterfully prepared to defend ourselves against the devil’s schemes.
But if the enemy can keep us untrained, he can keep us weak and defeated.
The Bible shows us how Jesus prayed continually and handled Satan with knowledge and skill by using God’s Word as His offensive weapon against the enemy. If it is true many Christians are “sleepy” (see blog 10/12/19) because they are not regularly in the Word and prayer, then they are living dangerously unprepared and oblivious to the enemy. Could the troubles in our world be proof we have not been mindful of the enemy, taken him seriously enough, or taken God’s Word and prayer seriously enough? (click to tweet)
We were to love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul and with all our mind (Matthew 22:37). We were to teach His commandments diligently to our children, talking of them when we sit in our homes, when we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise (Deuteronomy 6:7). We were to seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:14). This is a very different picture from what we see in our society today. Busyness and secularism have infected us like Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, causing a slow, unseen spiritual death.
You may not like war or Rambo movies, but how will you fight the spiritual war in which you find yourself? How will you combat the temptation to sin that can happen any moment of our lives and can affect every area of our lives? This is what the third chapter of Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World addresses. We need more skilled soldiers who are in active duty. I pray you’ll join the fight!
In this series of blogs, I’ve been introducing the chapters of my book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, which uses an acrostic for prayer to outline the different elements Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve addressed the P, which is for Pursuing Prayer Proactively – being intentional about our prayer life (Pray then like this, Matthew 6:9). Then we discussed the R, which is for Remember the Lord’s Deeds – because we can’t worship God (Hallowed be Thy name) if we don’t remember who He is and all He has done. This time, we’ve examined one of the key elements of an effective prayer life, Avoid Temptation (lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil), which is part of the A – Acknowledge Sin and Ask Forgiveness chapter. Join me next time for Y – Yielding to God’s Will. Be sure to sign up for my blog so you won’t miss it, and you will receive my free download, “Ten Prayer Tips for Busy Days.”