Will God lead us into temptation if we don’t ask Him not to? Why does Jesus tell us to pray that God will not lead us into temptation?
Regular viewers know we’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount asking common questions as we make our journey, and we’re kind of coming to the end of the Lord’s prayer in Matthew Chapter six, where one of the prayer requests that Jesus tells his disciples to pray is, this is Matthew six and verse number 13, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The question I posed at the beginning of this Little Lesson is, will God lead us into temptation unless we asked him not to? Well that’s a great question, and one that’s had me scratching my head for a long time.
Now, first and foremost, let’s not ever entertain the idea that God is tempting anyone. Okay? There’s a verse in the Epistle of James where James wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Let no one say who is tempted, I am being tempted by God because God doesn’t tempt anyone with evil and he himself cannot be tempted,” and so god is not putting any kind of enticement in front of anyone to do evil.
However, that’s not exactly what Jesus was talking about here. He didn’t say, pray, “God, don’t tempt me,” right? Rather, “God, don’t lead me into temptation.” The tempter is the devil and the tempter is the world, and the tempter is the flesh. Those are all evil influences. God is the leader.
He’s the guide and there’s a possibility apparently, otherwise, it would make no sense for Jesus to tell us to pray this prayer that God could lead us into a situation where he knows that we will be tempted. Now, the verse is very pertinent to that where if God does lead us into temptation, Paul wrote, “There is no temptation that you’ve suffered that is not common to man and God is faithful in this regard,” He’ll always provide a way of escape.
If God does lead us into a place where he knows that we’re going to face temptation from the devil, from the flesh, from whatever, then he’s also got an escape route. We can never say, never say, “I couldn’t resist. There was no escape. I had no way of avoiding this,” and no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. God promises a way of escape.
Now, back to the question. I have to believe that this is a legitimate prayer since Jesus himself gave it. I have to believe that it’s an effectual prayer that it could actually help in us not being led into situations where we’d be tempted if we pray this prayer. All right.
Now, why would you not want to be led into situations where you’d be tempted? Well, because you know, if you’re not tempted, you’re less likely to do evil. It’s when we’re tempted that we’re more likely to fall. One way to avoid sinning is to try to avoid the temptation to sin, not easy. You can be a monk and go live in a cave but you know even then you will not escape all temptation. It’s good to avoid temptation.
I believe, although I don’t fully understand all that’s going on here, it must be a good idea to pray this prayer every day because, “Give us this day our daily bread,” this is a daily prayer. This would be a great prayer to utter.
You don’t need two hours. You don’t need even 15 minutes. You don’t even need five minutes, you know, easy as you’re talking to Lord in the morning, “Lord, today, deliver. Don’t lead me into temptation, please. I don’t want to be tempted because you know, the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak so I’d like to avoid temptation. Please don’t lead me into places where I will be tempted and deliver me from evil.” Those are obviously related things, deliver me from evil.
That also, I think is a great prayer that reminds us of our dependency upon God to be holy. You know? Right? You’re probably like me, you’ve probably tried that on your own. “Oh, I’m going to obey God,” and you know, not too long before you fall flat on your face. Here one secret anyways, I need the Lord’s help. “Oh Lord, don’t lead me into temptation because that will be a help on holding this path. Secondly, deliver me from evil. I need the power. I need the strength. You know, the inner fortitude to resist the flesh and the world, and the devil so help me Lord, help me Lord.” The Lord helps us. He knows our frame.
The Bible says, he knows our weaknesses. We have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses, right? Right. He also suffered temptation. Although Jesus never gave in, but He knows, man, He knows it’s tough. He did a great job. He hit it 100% of the time, never sinned, but He knows what it’s like to face temptation and it’s tough so we need His help. We need His help.
One way to get it is to look to Him for it and when you try to do things in your own strength, you know you’re missing out on a great blessing. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Paul said to the Philippians, and God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think according to the power that works in us. Okay?
You know, good reminders. We’ve got the powerhouse within us. We’ve got God in us. That’s why we can do all things through Christ. It’s no longer I who live but it’s Christ who lives in me and so put your mindset in a spiritual frame of reference where you’re not relying on yourself and your own willpower. Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. No, no, no. This is, I’m looking to the Lord and the Lord is the strength of my life, right?
That’s a good verse to end on today’s little lesson. Go out thinking about that, that the Lord is your strength. Praise God. Thanks for joining me. God bless.