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Approaching the Throne of God: The Lord’s Prayer- Deliver Us From Evil

How often do you think about what is good, versus what is evil? Nowadays, it’s easy to throw around words, and quite often we do until words have no meaning. Yet Good and Evil are powerful terms that, if we understood them, we’d take Jesus’ teaching on prayer more seriously, especially when He says “but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13b). Let’s determine, then, what is “Good” and what is not. In the beginning, God called His creation “good,” then “very good” (See Genesis 1 and 2). We can infer, then that “Good” is of God. Jesus confirms this to the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” The definition of “good” hinges from God alone. He determines its worth and value. So, by definition, “evil” is not merely the devil and his minions, but anything that is not of God. Let’s consider the example of the Rich Young Ruler: he followed the law, he was a model citizen, he was wealthy and influential. From the outside, he looked good! Yet, his love wasn’t God. Jesus challenged him to sell all of his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, but he couldn’t let it go. The motivations came to light! He was about his money, his position, his power. Even the best intentions, the best motivations, the best actions are evil (not of God) if they’re done apart from God!

When Jesus tells us to pray “deliver us from evil” it’s not merely the intentions of Satan or even the intentions of others: deliver us from evil is also about the evil of our own actions. If we’re focused on ourselves, we can’t help but be self-centered and self-seeking. Our actions become more evil, even if we have the best intent. The greatest commandment, according to Jesus Himself, is “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31). In another Gospel, Jesus says all of the Law and Prophets HINGE on these. Following God is dependent on how we love Him and how we love others. This is how we combat evil: true, unselfish, God and others-seeking love. And this love only comes from God Himself. All of our thoughts, motivations, and actions must be based on this love. God delivers us from Satan, from others, and from ourselves when we dwell within the richness of His Love. This needs to be more than a prayer, but a constant, unending plea: “Lord, let me dwell within your love, that I might not even consider evil.” And His overwhelming and unending Love rescues us every time. Mark 10:17-31 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

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