Just before Jesus left this earth, He prayed for the disciples and also for us . . .
I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one (John 17:15, NLT).
Along with “evil one” in the Gospels, Jesus called Satan the enemy, the prince of this world, a liar, and a murderer.
Jesus is the Word, and the evil one snatches the Word from hearers. Jesus planted seed for a great harvest, and Satan sowed tares (weeds) into this harvest. As Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, the evil one is the god of this world.
Jesus isn’t silent about evil. Yet seldom are believers today able to discern evil. Too often, our good news is a mealy mixture of love without truth – one of the worst evils possible.
Jesus described Satan as an angel of light and also a likely source of sickness and emotional difficulties. Today, when do we hear of someone being diagnosed with demonic oppression — let alone having followers of Jesus who understand deliverance?
If we talk today about evil like Jesus did, we would be accused of lunacy. Yet 41 percent of Americans believe the Bible is the Word of God. Are we majoring in faith without works?
When the disciples asked Jesus why they were not able to cast out a demon, Jesus told them, “You don’t have enough faith” (Matthew 17:20). Jesus challenges us today when He describes the end times (right now) with the statement, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8, ESV)
The lesson of the Gospels is simple — our success in following Jesus depends on our ability to know, discern, and fight evil.
In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis describes our reaction to evil:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.
We have both errors gaining momentum today. Many books, video games, and movies have an excessive interest in the devils, while the official dictums of science and medicine disbelieve in their existence.
We need to realize the extent of evil today. As the Apostle Paul writes . . .
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world (Ephesians 6:12, NLT).
And the Apostle Peter says . . .
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).
Let’s discern evil this week. And when we do, let’s also remember what the book of James says . . .
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7, ESV).
Yes, I’m quoting the famous passages of the New Testament on evil in this Interruption, so we must conclude with my favorite by the Apostle John . . .
The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (1 John 4:4, NLT).
When Jesus returns, will He find the faith in our lives to fight evil?