"Lead Us Not Into Temptation" (Part 4 of 4)
From the final lecture in the audio seminar Praying Biblically
The main battlefield for the Adversary is our minds, because his power is the power of lying. That is why one of the rabbis in the time of Jesus said, ‘if you are walking down the street and you encounter that old evil inclination, that scoundrel - grab him by the nape of the neck and drag him off to the house of study, and there you will conquer him.’ That is the same wisdom of the Scripture. Do you know how to conquer the evil inclination within you? It is by the transforming of your whole being through the renewing of your mind – by standing, being penetrated by the Word of God. It delivered Jesus from the evil, and it will deliver you and me from the evil. So in terms of spiritual warfare, the most effective and the first you can do – not necessarily the last (there are special circumstances) – is to drag your old self off into the house of study, into the Word of God.
The devil hates it, he won’t stay around, because what is going on in the house of study? Satan flees praising because he cannot stand the truth. He is the father of lies and truth sends shivers down his spine, he is disgusted by the truth. That is the power of praise (yadah). To praise is to declare and to confess truths about who God is, and what he has done. That is the reason study is a higher form of worship when it leads to obedience – because you are focusing on the truth and you are embodying the truth.
I suggest to you that most of us Christians are far more in need of spiritual discipline than we are of spiritual deliverance. Don’t misunderstand me, deliverance is a vital part of Jesus’ ministry and there is a place for it. But most of us as Christians get into the need for deliverance because of a lack of discipline. What we need far more than sermons railing against the devil, is sermons instructing us in applying the Word of God to our lives. Satan’s goal is to get back and keep people under his reign. So if you pray, ‘thy will be done, thy kingship be established,’ you are opposing, resisting the devil. Satan wants to get us back, so we must confront the evil within.
Ps. 119:133 – ‘direct my footsteps according to your word, let no sin rule over me.’ Here is the principle: ‘Lord correct my footsteps according to our word.’ Submit first to God, then you can resist the devil and he will flee from you. If you let the Lord direct your steps according to his Word, then no iniquity will rule over you. This very Psalm is found in the Dead Sea scrolls and it is changed slightly. There it says: ‘let not satan or an unclean spirit rule over me.’ In some respects it is two sides of the same thing. For the Essenes at Qumran who prayed this, it is exactly the same as thing as saying in Ps. 119: ‘let not iniquity rule over me.’ The way to do that is letting the Lord direct you according to his Word.
How then in the light of all this, shall we live? Certainly we recognize that we don’t need more titillation on this subject, we need more teaching; we are not so much in need of deliverance, we need the discipline of getting into God’s Word, of standing upon the truths of that great Word, and of confronting the evil within and without us. I suggest to you that Satan does not have to oppose most churches–he is not an adversary–he just has to join them. Let it not be so here—we want not to be preaching against Satan, we want to be proclaiming truths about who God is, and he shall flee.
You must recognize the evil within yourselves. Confront it, confess it and crucify it in Jesus Christ. We are so busy confronting the adversary, confronting evil, preaching against the Devil, blaming the Devil: the Devil made me do it, the Devil is doing this, the Devil is doing that — and all the time we are in total disarray with the evil within us. Satan accomplishes his purposes by quickening the evil within you – getting you to speak slander, getting you to be critical and unforgiving, getting you to be consumed with your accomplishments, attached to your wealth, lusting after the pride of life, what your eyes see and your flesh desires.
We must have an attitude of repenting. Recognize evil and repent of it. In Jewish tradition there is only one day a year in which Satan (the adversary, the one who opposes the things of God) is totally impotent – Yom Kippur. I suggest to you that there is great wisdom in that understanding. If you and I are walking in the power of Christ’s blood, in the full efficacy of the atonement of Calvary, Satan is impotent. We must submit to God and then we can resist the devil.
We must rejoice. God is enthroned in the praises of his people. Because when you praise – when we engage in yadah, confession, declaration – when truths are being declared, the evil one doesn’t want to hang around a place where truth is going forth, because it is a fire that burns him, it is a power that defeats him — it is the power of God’s Word.
Will you please recognize the inclination for evil within yourself? Will you repent of it, and will you rejoice? When you pray: ‘Father, may your name be sanctified, may your kingship be established; may your will prevail.’ When you pray: ‘give us this day what we need,’ and forgive us – you can also pray with confidence that the Lord will lead you away from the inclination to evil. That is what Jesus is telling you here.
Let us pray: ‘Father let me not fall to the grasp of my evil inclination, Father deliver me from the Evil One.’
* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.