Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
Does God lead us into temptation? We know that James wrote, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (James 1:13 ESV) So, God does not directly tempt us to sin. However, he does allow temptation to sin to come our way.
The word temptation in Matthew 6:13 also has a broader meaning than that of sin. It means a putting to proof by experience of good or evil. It can also mean discipline and adversity. It is through temptation (adversity) that the genuineness of our faith is proven. Peter wrote, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)
God may allow us to be tempted with monetary wealth to see if we will worship money. Or he may strip us of all dependence on money to see if we will trust him for provision. Temptation may come in the form of a sin committed against us or in a physical ailment that attacks our body.
God’s discipline comes in many forms. His discipline is proof of our son-ship and his love for us. The writer of Hebrews expresses this thought; For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:6-7 ESV) If the perfect Son of God learned obedience through the things that he suffered how much more will we if we are his sons (Hebrews. 5:7-9).
So, I believe what Jesus is instructing us to pray is that God would not lead us into any temptation that would cause us to stumble or lose faith, but that he would deliver us from the hands of Satan’s evil devices. We should always remember that anything the devil brings to us was sent or allowed by God (Job 1:8; 2:3). The devil may mean it for evil, but God means it for good (Genesis. 50:20).
With every temptation, be it sin or adversity, God has given a way of escape that we may be able to endure it. Paul wrote, Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. 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 Corinthians 10:12-13 ESV)
Do you trust God during times of temptation?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Timothy 6:9