By Not Known

Why pray that the Lord will not lead us into temptation? God is neither tempted nor the source of temptation (Jas 1:13). Rather, we are responsible for our own temptation as we allow evil desires to take root, entice us and then lead us to sinful actions (Jas 1:13-15). In short, responsibility for our sin belongs with the person in the mirror and not God nor even the Devil.

The word tempted is a common word for testing or affliction. Some Bible translations carry this through into the Lord’s Prayer. Testing certainly includes enticement to sin, but also much more. Unemployment, illness, disappointment, persecution, challenging tasks, weariness and such like more can test our faithfulness to the Lord.

Tests can become temptations. For example, consider the person who is weary of being good and weary of so much Christian service on top of all else. They may look at a non-Christian and envy what they think is a life of ease. This is a test. It can become a temptation if we dwell on the enticement.

Whether it is a test or a temptation, the good news is that we are not alone. God promises to supply the means to escape any test that comes to us (1 Cor 10:13 – this verse uses the same word as in the Lord’s Prayer). Do we use the helps that he provides – such as Scripture, prayer, Christian friends?

The battle is bigger than us and we need God’s help. For example, all temptations pitch us in a battle against which we are defenceless by ourselves and in which we need God’s armour (Eph 6:10-18). We can now better understand this part of the Lord’s Prayer. Our weakness means that all tests can become temptations that drag us from God. Because we are so frail we need God to keep tests from us and especially to deliver us from the awesome power of the evil one and his temptations.

There’s another way to look at all this. School tests are an opportunity to pass and grow. The tests and temptations of the Christian life can be seen as an opportunity to lean on God, pass the test and grow in faithfulness. Fail or pass … it’s up to us as we choose to lean on ourselves or lean on the Lord.

David Burke