Temptation is everywhere and still, we downplay temptation. We think we are bulletproof, yet our resilience to withstand temptation is rather flimsy. We need to pray that God will protect us from temptation and deliver us from the evil one’s attraction…
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
Lead us not into temptation. Some of the oldest manuscripts include, ‘but deliver us from the evil one.’ The evil one is there in the places of temptation. He is the master of temptation. The Lord doesn’t tempt (see James chapter 1). God is, however, comfortable with our temptation.
Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days. Guess what? He was tempted during the 40 days before and after that also. Temptation is everywhere. So what is this about, Jesus? Why teach us to pray these words?
One of the realities of our humanity is that we downplay temptation. First of all, we think we are bulletproof. We want to show you the big S on our chest. We’re superheroes of faith. Untouchable. Except that we aren’t. We are fragile. The truth is our resilience to withstand temptation is rather flimsy. That’s why we are sinners in need of a Saviour. Romans 3:23 tells us we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The truth of these words is not a point in time in history (remember that day you sinned?). No. The truth of our sin is that it is repetitive. It hangs on. The Apostle Paul calls it a body of death we drag around behind us (Romans 7).
So here’s the value and importance of praying, “Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus wants us to be aware of the presence of temptation everywhere we go, and to be actively thinking and praying about our deliverance from it.
Don’t ignore it. Don’t deny it. Don’t give into it. Pray against it. Pray for strength. Pray that God will not allow us to be led into it.
But he does. God does lead us into situations in which we are tempted by the evil one. Just ask Jesus. Just ask Job. God is comfortable with our temptation. Why? Because we are creatures of choice and free will. And God’s desire is for us to choose him. Choose his way. Choose responses to temptation which are glorifying and pleasing to him. That’s what Jesus did in his 40 days.
What temptation will you face today? Much of it is predictable. Think about where you will go, whom you will see, and what activities you will participate in. Lots of temptations can come to mind through that exercise. Then pray that God will protect you from those temptations. That he will deliver you from the evil one’s attraction.
Here’s the promise: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it,” (1Corinthians 10:13).