Matthew 6:13 (NIV84)
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
They just don’t stop coming, do they? Temptations, that is.
Our daily lives are spent wandering in a spiritual wasteland. Our society spews out lie after lie (“You can decide your own truth!” “Your pleasure is most important!”) and seems intent on numbing us into a spiritually vegetative state through the constant stream of flashy and addictive entertainment. Culture’s current can feel like a raging river that is intent on dragging us down to our peril.
Temptations also well up from inside of us, even during our most “spiritual” moments. I am taking the Lord’s Supper with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I see a person with whom I am having a disagreement and immediately my heart is filled with resentment. I am in the process of praying with my family while my mind is overflowing with worries about finances and my unending to-do list. I am reading the scriptures with my eyes, but my heart is wandering far away, more concerned about banal sports events than the eternal and enduring Word of God.
Then the Devil comes, shooting his fiery arrows at our souls, whispering deceitful inquiries into our ears and intending to take us and those whom we love straight to hell. “Are you sure that’s what God says?” “Are you sure God cares?” “Are you sure God even exists?”
So we fall into temptation, over and over. I am forced to scream like Paul, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24)
This is why Jesus instructed us to pray: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Temptations do come. But, we pray that the Lord would hold us close to His side and keep us from falling to the myriad of temptations that hit us every day. We pray that God would deliver us from the one who wants our souls!
Deliver us God does. Over and over he points us to Jesus, our deliverer, who “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Over and over he presents a way out of temptation so that we can stand when society’s current would sweep us away (1 Corinthians 10:13). Over and over he surrounds us with Christian brothers and sisters who are loving and brave enough to rebuke us, correct us, forgive us, and guide us. Over and over he directs us to His word, where we hear the gospel message and are built up so that we can take our stand against the devils flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:11).
So, like Paul, we shout out “Who will rescue me?” But, also like Paul, we conclude… “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)
PRAYER: O God, our deliverer, we thank you for rescuing us from sin and death. Lead us not into temptation, but continually deliver us from evil. Amen.