protection from the evil one to stand your ground
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15-16 NIV).

The one event that will occur for all Christians is the departure from this world to be with Jesus. At present, we are soldiers in the Lord’s army who are fighting the good fight of faith. Therefore, stand your ground and pray for protection from the evil one. However, the day will come when we enter into the joy of the Lord. Jesus prays that we may eventually be with Him where He is. But He does not ask the Father to take us out of the world. He desires that we stay here on earth.

When we encounter trouble, we forget that God is a very present help, thus we become weary. We might pray that if we had wings we would just fly away and be at rest. When asked why, many Christians will answer, “we would go home to be with the Lord”. We want to be with the Lord when we encounter difficulty. But our desire is not to be with the Lord, but to get rid of our troubles. But Jesus does not pray that way. He prays that we will eventually be with Him, but that we remain in the world for now. He wishes that we remain here, so He asks the Father to protect us from the devil.

While we remain on the battlefield, we should pray as Jesus prayed. Pray that we are not taken out of the world but that we are protected from the Evil One. It is profitable to the kingdom of God that we remain in the world. It is needful to others, for the harvest of souls has not yet come.

Our reason for wanting to depart from this world is selfish, for our desire is more that we escape trouble than be with the Lord. Rather than pray to escape trouble, we should pray that God would continue to protect us from the evil one, that we may live a life on earth that would be pleasing to God. Leave it in God’s hands to say when we have fought the good fight of faith.

Now every Christian should look forward to the day when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. But while we remain, we should have the same spirit that Paul had. Paul knew that it was gain for him to die, but it would be profitable for Christ that he would stay on earth. Therefore, stand your ground and continue to fight the good fight of faith. Let your desire to glorify God by your life here as long as He pleases, even though it be amid toil, conflict, and suffering, and leave Him to say when “enough is enough.”

By Eric Dunbar

Once addicted to crack cocaine, my story is not unique but inspiring. I have been a professor of faith for most of my life. Before you inquire about my credentials, let me explain. I don’t mean professor as in “teacher” but professor as in “squatter.” For most of my life, I have been trying to occupy what I had never fully possessed, namely, faith. You see, my trust was in God long before I used drugs. To this day, I cannot tell you what happened to cause me to be addicted; it just happened. After a lifetime of serving God, somehow, I became a crack cocaine addict. I grew up in the church. I was born with talent. I started playing the organ for local churches at the age of eight years. I cultivated strong confidence in God early in life. From the time I was five until I was eighteen years old, I can’t remember ever missing a church service. I started playing keyboards in a popular R&B band at the age of nineteen years old. Midlife When you’re young, life is all about having fun, and I was indeed having a lot of fun. Playing in an R&B band exposed me to the rigors of nightlife, leading me to deviate from the church. I started experimenting with all kinds of drugs. At first, it was marijuana, then pills, and soon, I was using cocaine. All the while, I still attended church, although not as often. When I was married, my infrequent music revenue was inadequate to raise a family. So I left the band and found a job. I have always had confidence in God, but I didn’t know how to implement my faith. When my first child was born, I renewed my faith and got heavily involved in the church. A few years later, my pastor inspired me to begin a cell ministry in my home, where I faithfully worshipped God and held Bible studies every Tuesday. About seven years into my marriage, I slipped back into drug use. This time cocaine was my choice drug. Soon after, I learned to cook cocaine, converting it into a rocky substance called crack. That was the beginning of a life of trouble. I had become a slave to the drug; crack cocaine was now my master. Confident Expectation My wife threatened to leave if I didn’t control my addiction. Nevertheless, I remained confident that God would deliver me. But my wife insisted that I seek help. I wanted to save my marriage, so I enrolled in the Narcotics Anonymous Twelve Step Program. I completed the required thirty-day classes, and I went home drug-free. Fifteen days later, I was once again smoking crack. My crack smoking eventually led to my wife divorcing me. I lost my family, possessions, and everything dear to me. Life had become challenging, and I was near depression. My parents taught me that faith believes, so I understood the principle of faith. I had faith that God would liberate me, so I continued to pray that God would soon rescue me from this evil that had come upon me. One day I opened my Bible, and my eyes fell on this scripture: “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). “I don’t go to church anymore,” I said to myself, so how can I hear the word of God? Then I thought to read the word aloud to myself. The Bible was now my best friend. I read the word to myself. The word of God came out of my mouth and went back into my ears. Alas, I was hearing the word of God. I still craved crack cocaine and got high whenever the opportunity presented itself. But for the next two years, I mostly stayed to myself, reading the Bible aloud, quoting scriptures, and praying. Believing Faith Speaks After two years of practically being alone with God, my craving for crack cocaine was gone. My confidence in God rewarded me with freedom. I learned that believing faith speaks. No longer did I profess faith, but I now possessed it. Faith is having confidence in the things we hope for. Although they are not visible to our physical eyes, we believe that God is working our hope into physical existence. It is the bridge linking us to the spiritual realm and makes God a touchable reality. When we trust God, it guarantees that God’s promises and Biblical revelations are true. We cannot detect these revelations and promises of the word of God with our physical senses. However, by trusting God, we have the confidence that our expectation will come to pass. Faith is the quintessence that the things we hope for become so concrete that even belief itself becomes a definitive reality of those things that are not yet visible. Your faith becomes so tangible that you believe you possess those things in the spiritual realm.

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