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)
The subject of temptation is one of those things in Christendom that I think really trips people up. It’s clear from the Bible that God doesn’t tempt us but he does test us.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I used to think that Christians would just swap out the word “test” or “trial” for temptation just to spin the situation. I thought that they were trying to make God look better. In my mind, for the longest time “test” and “temptation” were synonyms one just had a more positive connotation than the other. Clearly, my interpretation of these words was not correct.
What’s so interesting to me is that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into temptation just 2 chapters before he teaches his disciples how to pray.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
So God doesn’t tempt us, but each temptation is an opportunity to bring him glory. Think about the temptation of Jesus. He’s the Son of God and the enemy had the gall to question Jesus’s identity. The devil took the word of God and twisted it in a futile attempt to trick our Savior. But Jesus combatted lies with truth; we have, likewise been equipped with truth found in the Bible.
I think that temptations look different for all of us. I am tempted to make work my everything, but God is glorified when I choose to seek him instead of my own glory. Saying hurtful things to other people to validate myself and cover my own insecurities is a temptation, but it goes against who God created me to be. Through the truth of God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit I can rise above these temptations and choose the better way. Do I fail? Yes. I succumb to temptations often, but because of God’s forgiveness I can return to him instead of running away, which is the biggest temptation of all.
I can lean on God’s truth and navigate any test, including choosing to forgive others because I’ve first been forgiven, showing the character and culture of God to the world, hallowing the name of my great and glorious Father.
To go deeper: Listen
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