PASTORAL POINT –“Deliver Us, (Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil)”
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread. 4Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ” 5Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’
7And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is
already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give
you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the
bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity [e] he
will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will
find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks
receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will
be opened. 11“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for [f] a fish, will give
him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to
those who ask him!”
Temptation often begins on the surface, will seem to be very innocent, very subtle, and in order to resist temptation we must remember how quietly and gently temptation comes to us. They don’t come like a hurricane, but like a gentle breeze. Let us remember that the temptation of Jesus took place when he has been in the desert for 40 days. Imagine how you would feel if you had been in the desert for 40 days with very little to eat or drink. You could, by the sheer power of your will, turn the stones in front of you into bread. Maybe the obvious response will be, yes, no big deal, I can do that. That is the real problem with temptation. It is so easy to respond to the temptation with the phrase, “It’s no big deal.”
I read a story of how it starts with people who embezzled money. It never starts with the desire to embezzle a million dollars. It starts with the worker needing a few extra dollars. He or she takes it, thinking, “I’ll just borrow
this. I’ll put it back. It’s just enough to buy a lunch, or a book. No big deal.” Or think of the man or woman who commits adultery. It doesn’t start with a full-fledged affair. It starts with a simple, innocent conversation. Or a
meeting over lunch in which there is nothing wrong, it’s just never shared with the spouse. It’s no big deal.Facing temptations always involves an invitation to forget who we are. Ultimately, for the believers, yielding to temptation forgets that we are above all else Christians, children of God who are called to a new way of life. Temptation has less to do with deciding whether or not to do something we shouldn’t, as much as it has to do
with forgetting who we are. For example the temptation to take one more piece of chocolate when we are trying to lose weight, or to light up one more cigarette when we are trying to give up smoking comes for the power of forgetting who we are and where we are going and who is in control.
“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”. As someone said; “You have two choices about how you will face the future. You either move toward tomorrow with self-sufficiency or God dependence.” In the Lord’s Prayer we affirm that our choice is the later. We move toward the future believing that we need “leading” and “deliverance.” Without it, we will get lost and trapped. A lifestyle of faith means that at some fundamental
level, we know that we don’t have everything under control. We face life without arrogance, with deep-rooted humility, knowing that we need God’s help. We must remember that we can embrace the guiding power of the
Word of God, it will lead us and it is the greatest power in resisting temptation. And every time Jesus responds, he doesn’t resist by the sheer force of his will. Nor does he resist by engaging the devil in eloquent debate. He simply says, “The Word of God says…” and then he quotes Scripture.
The Word of God brings us to a lifestyle of faith and humility before a sovereign God whose blessing and strength we desperately need. “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred
toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4). That is how we should relate to God. And we can relate to God in two ways. We approach Him with a sense of duty and
guilt or joyous gratitude that seeks to give glory and honor to him. We should approach God with humility. “For thine is the kingdom, and power, and the glory forever”. We show humility in our hearts towards God, and He knows that when He delivers us from evil, enabling us to lead a holy life, it will allow the fulfillment of His Kingdom and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to people. 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, that you may be able
to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13). The Bible also says that if we repent of our sins God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Repentance means we need to turn away from our sins and cling to God and follow Him
all the days of our lives! Then we ask Him for forgiveness and He makes us into a new creation! We ask God to deliver us, because He is our father in heaven, who lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.