"...but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:13b (HCSB).
Satan has been characterized and satirized until we as Christians take him very lightly. We take the biblical concept of him being a defeated foe, and turn a blind eye and deaf ear to what is going on around us. We take the power and warfare of this opponent as something to lightly disregard or make jokes about.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what he wants us to do. Satan persuades many people that there is no heaven, hell, judgment, or God. He causes many to think that he does not even exist, or that, if he does exist, he is nothing more than a little red cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork, who is mischievous but not dangerous. He causes some people to be bitter toward God. He causes many others to be deceived on how to be saved. He blinds their eyes. C. S. Lewis is quotes as saying
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist and a magician with the same delight."
We need to continually seek God to deliver us from this evil one (Greek, ponērós). Satan seeks to have us develop a trust in ourselves - that we can resist and defeat him. But, we need to be aware of his many schemes and plans to divert us from being what God has planned for us. Some will say, "Wait, doesn't the Bible say we can resist the devil? Look at the full scripture - James 4: 7 states "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." We resist the devil when we are in complete submission to the Father. Even the archangel understands the power of Satan - "Yet Michael the archangel, when he was disputing with the Devil in a debate about Moses’ body, did not dare bring an abusive condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 9 (HCSB)
Satan has a variety of schemes that he uses to delude and seduce a believer from staying true to God. A. W. Pink says, "Satan is not an initiator but an imitator. "He takes what God has created in beauty and twists it into something evil. The evangelist Dr. John R. Rice is quotes as saying, "I do not deny that the Devil has some pretty apples; I just say that all of them are fakes and that after you bite into them, you will find they have worms. All Satan's apples have worms." When we are confident that we have him all figured out - he has us where he wants us. He then leads us astray - and even though he can't take our salvation away - he will destroy our usefulness and testimony. and, we need to beware of how he will steal away our relational time with the Father. The late Adrian Rogers once stated - "If Satan can't make you bad, he'll make you busy." Once we replace our time with the Father with busyness, we open ourselves to Satan's deceptive lies.
Jesus knew that we need to pray for continual deliverance from the deceptions and power of the evil one. Today, muse over whether you have become complacent about our enemy. Spend time getting close to the Father, submitting to Him, and letting Him fight the battles.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.