Daily Defense

Home Church Devotional 1/16/2021

These devotionals were written during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic when area churches were not allowed to meet for fear of spreading the coronavirus. They were used in place of a full sermon as my family and I gathered for worship and communion.

“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

For as long as I can remember there has been an inclination in our society to blame others for our mistakes. It started subtly in the 70’s sitcoms and the one that sticks out among the many is the comedy show Laugh In. The show was a series of short skits and one-liners with, at the time, many unknown comics and soon to be well-known actors and actresses. The skit that standouts in my mind for today’s topic is set in a courthouse with comedian Flip Wilson dressed as an older woman appearing before a judge. After hearing the charges and being asked for a defense, Wilson replies in a silly feminine voice meant to bring laughter, “The devil made me do it.” The judge slams his gavel, and the case is dismissed.

The above scenario was played out on the show Laugh In many times and in many ways, not just the courtroom setting. It wasn’t long until you started hearing the tag line “The devil made me do it” everywhere and in ever instance. We thought nothing of it, it was just funny. But something strange happened along the way. The devil was dehumanized into something we laugh at and about, we soon forgot that Satan, the devil is real and active in the world and remains so even today.

As we have been looking at this model prayer, Jesus has taught us to look to God for our daily bread, the forgiveness of our sins, to help us forgive others and now for our Daily Defense, for the devil is surely behind the temptations that come so subtly and deceitfully each and everyday to believers of all ages.

As we dig into the final verse of what we know as The Lord’s prayer, it is clear that Jesus is teaching a deeper truth here than a simple temptation or avoidance of evil, no, we need Daily Defense for our lives will be filled with the need for strong defense against a bigger and stronger opponent than we can handle alone.

As we examine this final verse we must as ourselves one simple question, “Why do believers need to ask for Daily Defense?” Isn’t once enough? Must we come back day after day to ask again and again? There is no truly simple answer, but we must remember that life changes, our circumstances change, our needs change so yes, we must come back day after day and ask again and again.

Believers ask for Daily Defense because the schemes of the enemy are strong, and we are weak.

1). Believes ask for Daily Defense because we fight a battle bigger than us!

This verse truly addresses our daily spiritual battle and reminds us to be aware that life is a spiritual battle. No believer is immune from spiritual battles, not even if we stick our head in the sand! Spiritual battles surround us daily. That strained conversation you had with a coworker or relative this morning…spiritual battle. The “moron” you yelled at who apparently cut you off while driving…spiritual battle. Those inappropriate thoughts that blindside you every day…spiritual battle. The desire to be in charge and get even…spiritual battle. Spiritual battle is common to all believers and will come in ways that are common to all believers.

They are subtle and deceiving in nature; they will target your weakest point and masquerade as an opportunity to achieve your desire only to bring heartache and disappointment. They will come with a pull so strong we cannot resist the chance to have our way. They come as if from God seeking to draw us away from His will and into our will. Satan is not very inventive, but he is very persistent!! We ask not to be led into temptation because they come along so often, and the pull is strong, and we simply get in the way too much as we seek our own way and will.

In chapter 4 of Matthew, we read of the temptation of Jesus after His baptism. He is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where He fasted forty days and forty nights before His encounter with Satan. In His temptation Jesus faces every type of temptation we face in our lifetime. Satan tempted Jesus with the same temptation he used against Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. First, came the temptation of the physical or material things of life in the form of making bread – the cravings of sinful people. Second, comes the temptation to confirm God’s love for you – it looks good to the eye and surely you will not die – this is the lust of the eye. Finally, comes the temptation to boast of what we have – we can have it all and become like God – this is power and pride.

The Greek word used for temptation can also be translated as testing – so whether a temptation or testing our prayer should be that it does not lead to an opportunity to do evil – that is, to commit sin. Sin will keep us separated from God, our source of strength and guidance as we face one spiritual battle after another. We must remember that testing always has a purpose – God is always refining His people to depend on Him and strengthen our character to be more like His. Remember the encouragement offered by James, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”                                                                                                    James 1:2-4 (NASB)

Believers ask for Daily Defense because the schemes of the enemy are strong, and we are weak.

2). Believers as for Daily Defense because we fight an opponent who is stronger than us!

Greek words use gender – masculine, feminine or neuter – to help identify who or what we are talking about. For example, if this Greek word were in the masculine we might be talking about an evil man or evil men. Likewise, if it were feminine, we might be talking about an evil woman or evil men. In this case the Greek word is in the neuter and is translated as evil. However, it could also be translated as evil one, neither male or female and this is perhaps the best translation for this prayer model.

I take you back to my earlier story about the television show Laugh In and how the skit blaming the devil for our mistakes and wrongdoing helped to dehumanize Satan. We made him out to be a cute little cherub or simply a man with a red complexion, horns and tail while carrying a three-pronged pitchfork. Slowly we have removed all sense of evil associated with the devil, the evil one who seeks our destruction. Through the subtle deceptions of the evil one we have made ourselves even more vulnerable to his attacks.

Satan and his influence are behind every attempt to turn a testing or temptation into an opportunity to do evil – that is, to commit sin. He comes against us at our weakest spot, not in some strange way that would be obvious it is a testing or temptation, but in ways that are common to all believers. We have not suffered anything that is unique and only experienced by a single individual. The attacks come in the form of physical wants, needs and desire; in a form that speaks to our pride and desire for power; in such a way that we seek to test God’s love for us through the lust of our eyes.

As part of the fallen human race, we must recognize our weakness and the need for God’s strength. The temptations of Satan are deceptive, powerful and subtle, therefore, because of our weaknesses we must call on God to rescue, preserve and guard us. We must, therefore, rely on God, not just for our physical needs of food, shelter and clothing or the forgiveness of our sins, but we must also rely on God for every moral and spiritual victory in all of the spiritual battles we face throughout a lifetime of spiritual battles.

Believers ask for Daily Defense because the schemes of the enemy are strong, and we are weak.

As we dig into the final verse of what we know as The Lord’s prayer, it is clear that Jesus is teaching a deeper truth here than a simple temptation or avoidance of evil, no, we need Daily Defense for our lives will be filled with the need for strong defense against a bigger and stronger opponent than we handle alone.

As we dig into the final verse of what we know as The Lord’s prayer, it is clear that Jesus is teaching a deeper truth here than a simple temptation or avoidance of evil, no, we need Daily Defense for our lives will be filled with the need for strong defense against a bigger and stronger opponent than we handle alone.

Jesus knows the power of the evil one after defeating in the wilderness, He also knows the spiritual battles that His disciples will face, so He encouraged them to seek the Fathers strength to be delivered from the temptation and schemes of the evil one, on a daily basis. In John chapter 17 Jesus prays for His disciples, known by many as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus. In verse 15 Jesus asks the Father to keep His disciples from the evil one. This is a continuous action, to keep on keeping them from the evil one, but we must seek Gods guidance and strength against the enemy on a daily basis as well.

So, we make this petition because all believers are tempted and tempted often, not in some strange or blatantly obvious thing, but in subtle ways that are common to all believers. We make this petition because our sins cause God great hurt and pain; we make this petition because sin causes great trouble, guilt and grief for ourselves and others; we make this petition because none of us are above falling.

Because our sins have been forgiven, we ask God to deliver us from the two things that cause our sin – temptation and/or testing and the evil one. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

                                                                                                           Ephesians 6:10-13 (NASB)

May we all be found fully dressed in the armor of God, daily seeking His strength and guidance, being kept safe by God, from the evil one.

Amen and Amen

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