When we pray “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13) we are recognizing we have an enemy who is seeking to destroy us and that on our own we can’t stop him! This prayer is a warning against taking our own strength for granted. Is it not true that the soldier that goes into battle with a little fear (respect of the power of the enemy) can be more effective than one who presumes he is invincible?
Suppose we start the day with the attitude, “Go ahead, Lord. Let it come. I can handle whatever temptation comes my way today. I can overcome anything Satan throws at me.” Such a person is defeated before they even begin. But recognizing we are too weak to face our enemy is a good thing when it causes us to lean on God’s strength instead. Yes, a little fear is a healthy motivation when we’re fighting a super-human enemy.
When we pray “lead me not into temptation” we are confessing our own weakness. And when we add “but deliver me from the evil one” we are making a confession of our profound confidence in God and His power.
At the last supper Jesus predicted Peter would deny Him (Luke 22:32) but Peter felt he was above that and could handle anything that came his way. We all know how miserably he failed when he denied Jesus 3 times that very night. However Jesus went on to Gethsemane where He prayed for the Father’s strength to face what was to come (Matthew 26). He knew He could not withstand on His own. As a man who had voluntarily laid aside that part of His deity that would have made His life on earth easier, He faced Satan just as we do. He recognized His need of God’s help to have victory.
Perhaps we are often defeated because we overestimate our own strength and underestimate the power of sin and our enemy. What challenges or temptations are you facing today? In what area(s) are you most often defeated? Could it be because you are taking your enemy too lightly and not depending enough on God’s strength for victory? Ask Him now to fill you for this specific challenge and make sure you trust in Him for victory when these things come up. Stop, pray, and ask for His power because yours is not enough.
(Written by Jerry Schmoyer, 2014. You can find more of his writings at http://www.christiantrainingonline.org/. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)