CALL TO OBEDIENCE #434
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"But Deliver Us From Evil (the Evil One) Part 2"
By Reimar Schultze
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil... (Matt. 6:13). Through this petition, the Lord Jesus makes it very plain that every man’s heart is a battlefield between God and Satan. Both of these forces will test you. God does so in order to strengthen and refine you, to draw you closer to Himself; the devil does so to destroy you. In this article and the following one, you will learn a little more about the devices the devil uses, trying to trap and destroy God’s people.
The Devil Exaggerates and Twists Truth
When truth is exaggerated, it ceases to be truth. The universe is so delicately balanced that it cannot hold one single untruth without serious consequences. You cannot have science without truth. Science without truth throws everything into disarray. This is why you see nations who hold truth in high regard being the most advanced in science and technology. From this it can be said: “Wherever theology suffers, science suffers.” What is true of the physical universe is also true of the moral universe. Therefore it can be said that theology is the queen of all sciences. Since Adam and Eve, there has been spiritual darkness upon the face of the earth because lies were introduced to man by the devil. God told Adam and Eve that there was only one tree in the garden from which they should not eat, but the devil came to Eve and created doubt in her mind by asking her: ...Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? (Gen. 3:1 ASV).
What is the difference between one tree and any tree? God told Adam and Eve not to eat of “one tree” in the garden, but the devil said they should “not eat of any tree.” That was a preposterous exaggeration. The devil always tries to make things look worse by blowing things out of proportion. With any problem that you may have, the devil will take it out of context and make it look worse. The devil will make your problem look larger than your God. This is true whether it is about a family problem at home; or a problem at your workplace, at church or in your heart. God is far greater than any problem you will ever have.
For example, when Moses and his people stood between the Red Sea and the angry Egyptian army, it looked like a gigantic problem to Israel. It looked to them like their problem was much larger than their God. To Moses, however, God was greater than their problem. That fact gave him faith and God did a miracle and saved them all by dividing the waters in front of them so they could pass through on dry ground.
Consider the story of Elisha when a host of Syrian chariots and horses surrounded his house to capture him. That was a gigantic problem. The only man he had with him was his servant. But Elisha was a man of faith and he saw what his servant did not see. Faith can see what unbelief cannot see and therefore Elisha asked God to show his servant what he saw. Following is the story: And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:16-17).
You need to walk close to God, my friend, and then you will see through problems like Moses and Elisha did. You can then live above the devil’s tricks.
The Devil Tries to Get Your Attention on What You Don’t Have
The devil will tell you that God is cheating you out of something, that you deserve more than you have and that God is not fair with you. Eve was fully content and felt wonderfully blessed with everything until she listened to the devil, and Satan focused her attention on that one tree of which she was forbidden to eat. From that incident, we have this dreadful consequence described by the Apostle James: Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
“Lust,” as mentioned here by James, is a strong desire for something. The simple truth, then, is that the devil will stir up covetousness within you whenever you take your eyes off of Jesus. When you stop being thankful, darkness will enter into you. The author of the book of Hebrews provides this instruction: ...be content with such things as ye have... (Heb. 13:5).
Also make this a principle of yours, my dear friend: never make “people who have more” your point of reference, but instead focus on “people who have less.” That way you will never be poor. Have you ever thanked the Lord that you have feet with which to walk, hands for handling things, eyes to see, ears to hear and a working brain? Many are crippled and feeble minded. Yet, we all have Almighty God to call upon! He will inhabit us, making us all rich. Just revel in the basics and you will get everything God wants you to have in His time. God always blesses a thankful heart. He never blesses a complainer or a critic.
Because Adam and Eve were not content with what God had given them and ate what God had forbidden them to eat, it brought them to death; and that death spread to all mankind. Whenever you take anything that God forbids you to have, it will not only bring hardship and disappointment to you but to others as well. It may look beautiful at the beginning, but it will disconnect you from your heavenly Father once you have it. Keep reviewing what God has done for you; and the more reviewing you do, the more you will realize how unworthy you are to receive even a single crumb that falls from the Master’s table.
The Devil Is an Accuser of the Brethren
To accuse is to find fault or to blame someone for something they did or neglected to do. The devil is the fountainhead of all accusation, and he is in the business of accusing the saints day and night: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Rev. 12:10).
The devil accuses you directly before God just as he did with Job (Job 1:9-11) and Joshua the high priest (Zech. 3:1), but he also accuses you indirectly through others. In the following verse, the chief priests and elders became the means through which the devil accused Jesus: And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing (Matt. 27:12).
If the devil were to send you an accusation and you knew that it was coming from the devil, you would quickly dismiss it. The devil, however, specializes in making accusations appear as if they are from God. Again, he always hides himself behind something. He will make you think that God is not pleased with you and he may keep telling you this day and night, on and on. He takes pleasure in torturing God’s precious people by discouraging them and robbing them of the joy of the Lord. You need to recognize that God does not torture His people. He is your Father, and a father does not torture his children, even if they are at fault. Also, the devil tries to accuse you of things you have not done or of things you have done but for which you have already received forgiveness. This would include things that are already under the blood of Jesus and have been removed from you: As far as the east is from the west... (Ps. 103:12).
The devil will often put thoughts of evil into your mind. You may be in the middle of prayer or worship when, suddenly, he will put something into your head that is absolutely foul and wicked. He will accuse you that this is from your heart. No, most likely it is not from within you because you are a child of God and entirely given to God. It is the devil’s garbage and not yours, so throw it back at him and go on praying and worshipping.
If you think you have failed God in a certain area, ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you by His precious blood (1 John 1:9). Be done with it. Do not ask for forgiveness in that same area over and over again. A father forgives his child the first time he asks for it. If the accusations continue, you know they are from the devil. Tell the devil to get behind you. Tell him that the matter has been settled. Do not keep rolling around in repentance, in dust and ashes, on and on as Joshua did when he had already repented (Josh. 7:6-19). Give yourself to praise and adoration, for God inhabits the praises of His people, which drives off the devil. Get on your feet, and get on with the work of God.
TO BE CONTINUED.
(This is an edited excerpt from the book, Praying the Will of God by Reimar A.C. Schultze)