“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ Matthew 6:13
There is so much evil in the world. What should we do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others?
The devil and mankind who follow him in sin are the reason for evil. Jesus said to the Jewish leaders who did not believe in Him:
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
The reason the devil is so powerful is because the vast majority of people are under his control. The only power he has is to get people to do his bidding, although he can act supernaturally to some degree when he is asked.
Jesus said that in the last day it will become worse:
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” Matthew 24:12
We can certainly see the increase in wickedness; the devil seems to be winning on so many fronts.
The Apostle Paul explains what man will be like in the last days:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—” 2 Timothy 3:1-4
God can deliver us from evil. In fact, God could destroy Satan with one breath if He desired. That is why Matthew 6:13 is encouraging. It shows that we can always ask God to deliver us and He can. He often keeps us from evil, without our asking, but sometimes we have to ask or we will fall into evil. It’s amazing we don’t fall into evil more often since there are so many ways to suffer harm. God wants us to ask.
There are some things we can do to protect ourselves from evil. We can:
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11
If we know and live truth, obey God to obtain His righteousness, show love and try to promote peace, have faith in God, apply the wisdom of Jesus, study and memorize His Word and pray we will defeat the enemy.
If we know and live truth we will be free and free others:
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Believing that God will do what He says He will do is our main offense against the enemy.
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:11
“This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
We should ask for wisdom, knowing God will give it to us “without finding fault”:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:2-8
The only requirement is to “believe and not doubt”.
Applying the wisdom God is more than willing to give us will save us from evil men:
“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse” Proverbs 2:11-12
Along with wisdom are discretion, discernment, insight, prudence, etc. Knowing God’s voice will give you these and make you aware of approaching danger:
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3, 27:12
Another verse that is mentioned twice in the Bible warns how easily it is to be deceived:
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12, 16:25
The New Testament also warns against deception, but promises God’s protection for those who belong to Him if they are willing to take the way out:
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13
As there are things we can do to help keep us from evil, there are things that make us more susceptible to evil:
“Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
If we give into temptation and participate in evil, we have willingly put ourselves into the hands of Satan; we have taken ourselves out from under God’s protective covering. Then we are much more prone to suffer evil.
The beginning verses of Proverbs 2 show us the relationship between the Word of God and wisdom:
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” Proverbs 2:1-8
We get wisdom by learning and applying the Word of God.
To deliver us from evil or the evil one is included in the Lord’s prayer because it is an important principle. Like praying for our daily bread includes praying for all our physical needs, praying for God’s protection includes protection against accident, sickness, evil people, etc., and the temptation to sin and put ourselves in harm’s way:
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation…” Matthew 26:41 Mark 14:38
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
We should pray for increasing discernment for ourselves and others:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
We should pray for other Christians that God will fill them “with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding"::
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14
Knowing his will includes having ”great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father”. That is something we must have with the increase of evil.
We should pray for our governments:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
How we pray for them depends on what is needed for us and others to "live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness", This will help to cause "all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth”.
We all must die somehow at some time (except those who are alive at the time of the rapture). It is not how or when we die but where we go when we die. Our live on earth is nothing compared to an eternity with Jesus.
Some of us will be persecuted and even killed because we belong to Jesus. The following are a few of the Scriptures, written by the apostles, Paul, James, Peter and John, that show us what our attitude should be in that situation:
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
“But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10
Jesus told us that we are blessed when we are persecuted for His sake:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12 Luke 6:22-23
We can “rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven”.
If we suffer evil that does not involve persecution we must trust God, remembering how much He loves us and that:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
To be delivered from evil, we must obey, ask and believe. We do not need to be afraid, but instead focus on the reason we exist
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” 2 Timothy 1:7-9