"When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death,” [James 1:13-15]
“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator -- who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts,” [Romans 1:25-26]
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." [Job 1:6-12]
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin,” [Romans 6:6-7]
Jesus gave an example of prayer to His disciples, which we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer,” but has that part of the prayer, “And lead us not into temptation,” ever bothered you? It certainly has me. If we take it at face value, we have a huge problem. In the first place, God never tempts people to do evil. So why would Jesus say that we should pray to the Father that He would not lead us into temptation?
James made it very clear that God “cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” But God does, however, give us over to temptation, when we are enticed to pursue sin. And then, when we’ve made foolish decisions, then we’re tempted to say that it’s somehow God’s fault for not looking out for us! This must be Satan’s “opus” when he tricks us into giving God the “doubt whammy.” But the truth teaches us that everything starts with a desire in our own hearts –which are far from perfect. And nothing is truly a temptation unless it is something that we might truly want. Satan knows us well and he knows where to hit us. He is called “Satan” for a reason: It means “adversary” or “enemy.” His other name, “devil,” means “accuser.” While God has given us grace, Satan accuses us of being incapable of escaping from sin –and this is how he attempts to “validate” his ownership of the world and his “right” to be our “god.” We would be unable to resist him if it were not for the saving grace of God. God hears Satan’s arguments, because Satan still lays claim to this world due to the actions of people. God gave us dominion of this world, so we are the “determiners” of the rightful ruler of the world. Adam and Eve chose Satan’s “solution” for themselves and thereby evicted God from their lives. God gave them that choice –life, which is God, or death, which is Satan. But now God gives us the ability to choose with better “eyes” now that our blindness has been taken away. And though all belongs to God, He wants us to choose Him freely by His grace in all of our decision-making. When we want to sin more than love Him, then He is forced to give us over to our desires. He gives us the choice, the ability, His Spirit and the power to love Him. In other words, we have more than we need to love Him by our choices in daily life and prove (by His grace) that this world is rightfully His; we are the subjects of the True King. But our flesh is weak. Our spirits may be willing, but if we drift back into the thinking of Law, we will think that the burden of righteousness lies with us… and we will not call out to God in our time of need to resist the testing of the devil. The word that is translated “temptation” in the New Testament would be better translated, “testing.” The idea is that it is the devil who tests us, attempting to tempt us (notice the word “attempt” has the word “tempt” in it), in other words, lead us to sin.
A better understanding of “Lead us not into temptation” has to be connected with the next thought, “but deliver us from evil” (or, “the evil one”). The idea is connected to God giving people over to sin because they have exchanged the truth for a lie; they have chosen Satan’s way over God’s way and have given the enemy dominion again. But our earnest cry for help, which is heard because of the grace of God, is, “Lord, do not give us over in our time of testing… but deliver us from evil!” In other words, “God, HELP! I am too weak to resist the devil’s testing on my own. So, I beg You, Lord, HELP ME STAND THE TEST! DO NOT GIVE ME OVER TO MY OWN FOOLISH, SINFUL DESIRES!”
I am weak. So, Lord, in my time of testing, save me from myself because I earnestly want Your Kingdom to come and Your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Don’t allow me to become an enabler of the problem and the troublemaker. Please, in my hour of testing by the devil, glorify Your Name. Do not hand me over to him but deliver me from evil –and I will withstand the test –and proclaim that You, You the LORD, are God and the only Rightful Ruler. Do not allow the tempter to entice me to sin, but help me stand the test –that my faith and my allegiance to You might be purified and solidified. You are more precious to me than all the gold in the world. And I will love You first and all my actions and concerns will follow. I don’t have the right to be selfish because my Savior was never selfish to me. He has withheld nothing from me that I needed. He has given me abundantly more than I could ever need. I won’t listen to the enemy, but I dare not stand on my own. Lord, deliver me and glorify Your Name in me. This is Your territory. This is Your Kingdom. This is Your world. And I will testify to this truth by my choices, my words and my actions. Be exalted, Lord our God!
Pray with confidence,