Secrets of the Lord's Prayer: How Can We Avoid Evil?
"but deliver us from evil." (Matt. 6:13b)
We are nearing the end of this series on the Lord's Prayer. We just have to cover this one last part about evil and what Jesus says to avoid it. For past articles in the Lord's Prayer series, click HERE.
So, the classic definition of evil is something that causes harm. From a Christian perspective, we are supposed to pursue the benefit of oneself and others. This is called doing good. But evil is when one causes harm to others either directly or in pursuing good for oneself at the expense of others. Evil began in God’s good universe when a very powerful angel, who moved selfishly beyond his assigned station for personal gain, corrupted one third of the angelic realm to rebel against God. (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isa 14:12-15) Evil was further introduced into our world through the corruption of Adam and Eve and their selfish choice to become their own gods by determining their own definitions of good and evil. After Adam and Eve, we were all born into a corrupted state in which our default setting was selfishness. “I want what I want” is the dominant impulse within us. It is through parenting, learning, faith, and social interaction that we are supposed to learn to corral our normal selfishness and favor our positive and beneficial impulses. If we are consistently or egregiously harming others, we will be labeled as evil and punished in various ways in society.
Jesus says that we should have a dialogue with God about being delivered from evil. There will be options and possibilities that present themselves to us on a daily basis that are significant gains to us but will wound, harm, or destroy other people. This is what we should avoid and be delivered from. God has already given us a cheat sheet to know what those actions look like so we can avoid them. It is called the Ten Commandments. Each of these commandments is a win-lose line for relating to others. If I steal or lie to get what I need or want, then I am harming others. If I refuse to take a day off, I harm myself and those who work for me. If I commit adultery or use violence to get my way, then I am clearly harming others. If I verbally abuse others to get my way, I have crossed the win-lose line. If I scheme to take others people’s rightful possessions, then I have become evil. Jesus is anticipating all of these options coming at us, and He wants us to dialogue with God about being delivered from committing evil.
Praying through the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17) allows God to show you where you might be moving toward or are already involved in evil. I want you to try praying through each commandment and ask for God’s deliverance for any areas where you have crossed one of these lines. Also, make definite plans that will move you away from violating any of these crucial issues.
Thou shall have no other gods before me
Thou shall not make for yourselves any graven images
Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
Remember the Sabbath Day
Honor your Father and your Mother
You shall not murder
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor
Next week, I will help us understand the three sources of evil and give some more prayer exercises you can try to keep yourself from evil. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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