This, then, is how you should pray… Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. – Matthew 6:9,13
Do you remember the comedian who used to say, “The Devil made me do it”? That line was always good for a laugh, but God wasn’t laughing. We cannot justify our actions by passing the blame on to someone, or something, else. That is called denial.
Temptation is a very real part of the human experience, but we often do not realize the source of our temptation. James writes, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:14). It really wasn’t the devil – it was our own desires.
Remember the comic strip Pogo? This comic character was an alligator in the everglades swamp and every week he would impart his brand of wisdom to all who read it. In one episode he was standing in the swamp ready to do battle and he was saying, “We have found the enemy and he is us.”
The only way we can be tempted is when something we desire comes to our attention and demands that we respond to it. The only way to effectively deal with this temptation is to deal with the desire.
When we destroy the desire we destroy the temptation. God created systems in man that releases into our consciousness a sense of calm and well being giving us a generally pleasurable experience as humans. When we walk in his way these systems produce harmony and a balanced life, but when we pursue the pleasurable sensation that comes from these systems then our life gets out of balance and our desire for pleasure overrides our desire for righteousness and we sin.
At this point our inner desires becomes the evil one. We must agree with Pogo – the enemy is us. God delivers us from our evil by living his righteousness through us. For that to happen we must be submitted to his will and committed to his kingdom. If the enemy is us then we should seek deliverance from ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, deliver me from the evil desire that rises up within me so that I am free to serve you in righteousness. In Jesus name, amen.
Message: The only way we can be tempted is when something we desire comes to our attention and demands that we respond to it. The only way to effectively deal with this temptation is to deal with the desire.
Affirmation: When I am tempted I examine my desires and deal with wrong desires by submitting them to God.
Reflection: How does the example of Pogo declaring, "We have found the enemy and he is us," relate to how we are tempted. Think of some ways you can effectively deal with the temptations you face.
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