“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.” (Ephesians 6)
We are naive if we think life is going to be plain sailing. The Bible speaks of an “Evil One” and of an “Evil Day.” And here, in Ephesians 6, it speaks of the necessity of protection so that you can stand firm in the fight against evil.
And Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray: “Deliver us from evil.”
This online dictionary defines deliver as “to set free or liberate; to release or save.” So, “deliver us from evil” means we are asking to be freed or saved from evil.
But how do you define”evil”?
As a rule of thumb, evil is anything that tempts us to do something which is against God’s will. It is anything that would sadden or displease God if we were to follow our own desires instead of His will. Some translations say, “deliver me from temptation to do evil” or “deliver us from the evil one.”
In this regard, it’s important to consider a familiar verse from the letter of James:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:13-14).
Consequently, the All about God blog concludes:
“Deliver us from evil simply means, “God, help me because I can’t do this on my own. I am weak and vulnerable to temptation. Please, Father, put a hedge of protection around me and keep me safe from the evil one’s influence. Father, keep Satan in his place and don’t allow him to attack me and bombard me with things that draw me too close to the edge and allow me to fall. Father, keep me strong and focused on you!”
It’s clear that we will never be completely clear of the presence and power of evil. Until we arrive in Heaven, we will be tainted by the sting of failure and shortcoming. Until God creates the New Heavens and New Earth, this world will be filled with evil. Praying “Deliver us from evil” is a call for protection from evil and victory over sin – not a request to be rescued from the very presence of evil. That will have to wait! (1 Corinthians 15:55-56)
This prayer is an important corrective to self-reliance.
Craig D. Lounsbrough said: “At some point I hope to have grown sufficiently in both stature and wisdom to understand that I cannot deliver myself from myself, and that God alone can save me from me.”
Lord, deliver me! Enable me to stand and ready me to fight, today.