Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13*)
There are two halves to this petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation,” and “deliver us from the evil one.” King Jesus has answered both.

Let’s understand this about temptation: Jesus knows how to deal with it. Immediately after he was baptized (Matthew 3), he was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temped by the devil (Matthew 4). After forty days and nights of fasting, which was followed by three defining rounds with the devil, he emerged victoriously and began his ministry of preaching the good news that the kingdom of God had arrived.

Jesus dealt with temptation in his own life and prevailed, and he is well able to help you and me as well. The author of Hebrews says: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted … For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15).

The promise we have in him is this: “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). That is a comforting assurance, but more wonderful still is what Second Peter tells us:
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Everything we need for a godly life has already been given to us, that we may know the one who has called us by his glory and goodness. In Jesus the Messiah we participate in the divine nature. In him we have escaped the corruption in the world that is caused by evil desires. Paul put it this way:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
The life of Jesus the Messiah is now our life — he live in us! It is a life we live by his faithfulness. Let me say it again because it is very important that we understand this: We do not live this life by our own faithfulness but by his. In every trial and every temptation, his life and his faithfulness are always present and at work in us. “In all these things, we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). And the way we overcome  is through faith in him.

Tomorrow we will look at how Jesus delivers us from the evil one.

*All Scriptures in this post, except where noted, are taken from the New International Version.