Victory Over Temptation
The Bible clearly teaches that God is not the author of sin and temptation: He does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). That being the case, why would we pray and ask God not to lead us into temptation? What exactly are we asking God to do, or not to do?
We find our answer in the subtle distinction between testing and tempting. When we pray “Lord, lead us not into temptation,” what we’re really saying is “God, help us so that we do not let the testing which comes from you become a temptation from Satan to do evil.” We are likewise asking Him not to lead us into trials without His presence and power, which are what will keep us walking through them in faith and joy instead of sinking in despair or faithlessness.
This phrase from the Lord’s Prayer is therefore important because it reminds us, and necessarily so, of temptation’s reality and proximity. In Genesis 4 God warns Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but”—and here comes the exhortation—“you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7, NIV). Sadly, Cain did not respond by asking God to give him all he needed to rule over it instead of letting it rule, and ruin, him. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us not to make the same mistake.
Given sin’s propensity to consume us, we cannot simply ask God not to lead us into temptation and then believe the issue is handled. No, our actions must correspond with our prayers. If we are genuinely asking the Lord for help not to violate His holy commands, then we must not put ourselves heedlessly, needlessly, or willfully within sin’s reach.
God is both willing and perfectly able to help us battle temptation. He is fully committed in His covenant of love to ensuring that none of His children will fall into sin’s grip. There will never be an occasion in our lives when the temptation to sin is so strong that God’s grace and power cannot enable us to bear it; as Scripture reminds us, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Nor will there ever be a failure to resist temptation that cannot be covered over by the blood of Christ. Therefore, in every situation and in the face of every temptation, remember this: in Christ we’re “on the victory side.” You can resist, for you have the Spirit to guide and guard you. What regular temptations to disobedience are you facing at the moment? At what places or in what moments do your trials turn to temptations? Ask God for His help right now—for you need it, and He stands ready to supply it.
The Temptation of Jesus
1And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
9And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
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