Jesus taught us to pray that God would lead us not into temptation but protect us from evil every day. Most of us do not deeply connect with the spiritual reality that is around us all the time. We don’t consider the reality of temptation. We don’t recognize that we have an enemy of our soul whose main goal is to destroy any connection we might form to the love and protection of God. This is how we become our own worst enemy. We do not recognize what is at stake every day.
There is an invisible foe to conquer every day. This mostly undetected force of evil is very skilled at remaining anonymous. He comes to steal, kill and devour (John 10:10) but most of the time in the most subtle of manners. Since we are creations of God and bear His image, it is difficult for us to stoop so far as to openly worship evil. The types of people that openly worship Satan are not attractive or tempting to the average person. Yet, the enemy of our soul is present every day. Once we connect deeply with God we become aware that there is a difference between the times our souls feel the peace with God and the numbing from the world. It’s then that we see how we can become our own worst enemy by not forging into the fight against evil moment by moment.
I heard a speaker say once that we should be the kind of woman that when our feet hit the floor in the morning the devil is saying—“Oh no, she’s awake again.” The way we become that kind of a woman or man is that we wake up each morning recognizing the battle within our soul to fight off the temptation to connect more deeply to the world than to our loving God.
The worst of the worst places to be when it comes to temptation is to create a world of self-virtue like the Pharisees. Once your soul has deceived itself into believing you are in perfect communion with God, you give incredible sacrifices that are admired by men but mean nothing to God because there is no love (1 Corinthians 13). In the book, Unseen Warfare, the author writes: “After this it is impossible for any man to turn such people, except, through God’s special influence. An evident sinner will turn towards good more easily than a secret sinner, hiding under the cloak of visible virtues.” A soul in this state is so committed to their own idea of godliness that they have become unaware of the genuine love of God. The Pharisees looked into the literal eyes of God when they approached Jesus and told Him He was the son of the Devil.
I can see why Jesus taught us to ask God daily for protection from temptation. We must stand our guard over the holy, intimate relationship with God. A soul that connects to God every day, and throughout the day, is on track to carry out God’s will. That kind of soul is dangerous to the enemy. This is why our souls need protection from temptation.
Paul taught us to see our spiritual life as a battle, and he gave us battle imagery to fight the spiritual fight. He told us in Ephesians 6 to wear the armor of God which consists of truth, righteousness, standing in the Gospel, faith, salvation and the Word of God. He writes:
Stand firm then, with the belt of Truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17).
The enemy of my soul has been exposed by Jesus; he has no power over me (1 John 4:4). It’s not the enemy of my soul that I need to fight against; rather it is within myself and whether I turn my soul to God in order to fight my unseen enemy.