We often downplay the presence of evil in our lives. Due to our sophisticated and scientific minds, we are prone to doubt that a spiritual dimension exists in our finite world. Of course, we will make some allowance for a God-oriented spiritual influence of some sort that helps us in our difficulty or may have an interest in the affairs of the world in which we dwell.
As we dismiss the role or presence of evil, we do, of course, delete large portions of the Bible that we otherwise believe to be infallible, inerrant and authoritative. Inconsistency thy name is human.
I believe there is considerable evidence that not only is evil present in our world, but that evil has an agenda. And that agenda is to seek and take out all who belong to Jesus. And we don’t have to look any further than the opening chapters of the Gospel of Matthew at the beginning of the New Testament to see powerful pictures of evil’s presence. The threat to God’s plan to purchase for himself his chosen people forced the Heavenly Father to use his strongest forms of communications: dreams, angels and Scripture.
Herod was determined to kill the baby Jesus before the Messiah could have an impact. God sent a vision to the wise men to return home a different way, he sent an angel and dreams to Joseph to go to Egypt, then to return to Israel. And as Joseph, Mary and the baby were traveling back to Israel another message came to hide out in Nazareth. All of this maneuvering was to protect Jesus from evil.
Now, years later as Jesus had grown into a man ready to fulfill his calling and purpose, he was called into the wilderness to confront the evil one straight up. Jesus was tempted to give in to the pursuit of the evil one, but through the word of his Father, the strength of the Spirit and the ministry of all of God’s resources, Jesus resisted.
So, if the presence of the attacks of evil were so obvious in the life of Jesus why do we not want to recognize those attacks on us? After all, Jesus lives in us. And it has seemed apparent that evil will try to undermine the work of Jesus whenever and wherever possible. The Apostle Peter warns us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Jesus and those around him listened to the voice of the Father, listened to Scripture and prayed often when faced with the attacks of evil. Jesus calls on us to watch and pray. And that includes watching out for each other. In Luke 23 we read, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen…”