We were having dinner at the home of friends. It was a beautiful evening so we were eating outside. Every so often I’d hear a strange sound, a kind of electric “zap.” Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I asked, “What’s that zapping sound?” “Oh, it’s the sound of bugs hitting our bug zapper,” they said, and went on to describe the gadget that attracted insects with its light, only to sizzle them when they got too close. It went on all night long — bug after bug — hundreds of bugs. “Zap! Zap! Zap!”
I must admit that this experience got me trying to think like a bug. You’d think that an approaching bug might observe the tray underneath the zapping light filled with hundreds of dead bugs and wonder, “Is this a good idea?”
Only a bug could possibly be that dense, right? Only a bug would go flying mindlessly into the same trap that countless other bugs have died in, right? Well, let’s think about the glowing light of temptation that the Evil One places in front of human beings. Listen closely and you will hear it. Political leaders. “Zap!” Pastors and church leaders. “Zap!” Successful business leaders. “Zap!” Wealthy athletes. “Zap!” Homemakers. “Zap!” Construction workers, televangelists, school teachers. “Zap! Zap! Zap!” It never seems to end.
Ever since Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and desirable for wisdom, “Zap!” Over and over we read and hear of people who fall into temptations that devastate their lives, destroy their marriages, rock their worlds, break up their families, and wither their souls. Why do we voluntarily give in to what we know is going to be destructive? Why do we fly into the light?
The Bible teaches that we have an enemy who is bigger, stronger, and smarter than us. He is devoting time, investing energy, and marshaling the forces of hell in an effort to draw us into sin. This is why the Bible is filled with warnings about the Evil One:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10 – 12)
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
John Ortberg and Kevin & Sherry Harney, The Lord’s Prayer: Praying with Power (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009).
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