Theme: The Evil One
The evil one. In a conversation with some religious leaders, Jesus makes it clear He believes in the Devil. "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. 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 (NIV).
And then when Jesus teaches His followers to pray, He prays this, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13 (NIV).
Both Matthew and Luke record the account of the evil one tempting Jesus in the wilderness.
Finally, the writer of Hebrews tells us this about Jesus, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin." Hebrews 4:15 (NIV).
So just from these few verses, we can draw some conclusions.
There is a Devil
The Devil is a liar.
Jesus was tempted by the Devil.
Jesus prays about temptation and the Devil.
This week I made the point that every temptation is rooted in a lie. So one key to resisting temptation is to understand the Devil is behind it with a lie. Let me say it this way, we must get to the lie the temptation has grown from if we have hope to resist.
Now if you have ever tried to dig up roots, you know it is a tough, frustrating, and sometimes discouraging task. This can be true of trying to dig up the lie behind a temptation as well. It is hard work. It takes prayer, reflection, Bible reading, conversations, perseverance and time. But if you find yourself falling to temptation over and over, why not work at it? Think about finally understanding the lie you have believed and then gaining victory over it.
One lie I mentioned Sunday was this, "You can do whatever you want." But the truth is there are few choices that lead to success. And to have success it requires character and self discipline. It takes making the right choice when tempted to do wrong. But again, unless you see the lie behind the temptation, it will be a challenge to make the few right choices that lead to success.
So hear this, identifying the problem is half of the solution. There is a Devil and he is a liar. The Devil tempts everyone, he even tempted Jesus. So here is what I want you to do. Ask God to help you uncover the lie behind the temptation you struggle with. Then find the truth that counters the lie. And when the temptation comes again, recall the lie and truth, and then make the right choice.
Jesus is on your side. Jesus understands. Jesus knows this is tough. Why else would he have prayed, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Scripture: Matthew 6:13 (NIV)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
"Jesus, it is hard for me to comprehend that You faced temptation. It is hard for me to comprehend that you actually had conversations with the Devil. It is hard for me to comprehend how you made it through life with no sin. You never fell short. Honestly, that is why I worship You. That is why I am in awe of You. Because I know how many times I have fallen short. Show me the lies I have believed and reveal the truth I need to resist the Devil and overcome temptation. My desire is to do what is right, not because I have to, but because I want to. I want love to be the driving force of my life. Amen."