Today we focused on the last portion of the Lord’s Prayer with the words:
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Of all the items Jesus could have added to His prayer list for us, He ends the prayer with a very sobering request. It is essentially a request for guidance and rescue. Why would this be? Because we know what it is to experience temptation, we also know the pain of giving in to the temptations we experience. We all feel we should be better at resisting temptation, but we experience a different reality time and time again. Jesus addresses this weakness by reminding us to include within our prayer a petition that our Heavenly Father would not lead us into temptation, which can actually be stated another way, lead us away from temptation. We all need our Father’s help in that regard.
There was a little boy named Bobby who desperately wanted a new bicycle. His plan was to save his nickels, dimes and quarters until he finally had enough to buy a new 10-speed. Each night he asked God to help him save his money. Kneeling beside his bed, he prayed, “Dear Lord, please help me save my money for a new bike, and please, Lord, don’t let the ice cream man come down the street again tomorrow.”
I wish the only struggle I had to deal with was a tempting ice cream truck. Not that it isn’t tempting, but it isn’t the depth and breadth of my temptations or yours. The temptations we face are invitations to sin in what we consider “small” and “big” ways. The only problem with categorizing our sins and temptations is that we would always consider them “small” when we give in and “big” when others give in, and their sin impacts us. We learn in the scriptures that small sins and big sins all lead to the same thing…DEATH! I know that sounds stark, but it is absolutely true.
For the wages of sin is death… – Romans 6:23a (NIV)
When the stakes are life and death, we need to take them seriously. Before we look at the second part of the Lord’s Prayer’s last lines, I want us first to consider the part that deals with our temptations. We are given this promise in scripture:
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. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
What are the areas of temptation you face where you need God to help redirect your thoughts, eyes, desires, and actions? Don’t rush past them. Temptation leads to sin, and sin leads to death. If God promises to lead and direct, why wouldn’t you ask for His help? Take each temptation to God and simply ask – God, please lead me away from this temptation. You might be surprised how He answers those prayers!