And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Today we’ll take a look at the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.”

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.                                    – Hebrews 4:15-16

Temptation is so deceptive.  The devil never rings your doorbell and says, “Hello!  I’m here!  And I’m going to lead you into temptation today!  Are you ready?”  Instead he masquerades as an angel of light.  A silent killer.  He is brilliantly, terribly deceptive.  He has even convinced a majority of Americans that he doesn’t exist.

Temptation is so promising.  Promises of happiness abound everywhere you look.  All you need! need! need! is a little more money, or a trophy wife, or a listening husband, or a few more friends, or to loosen things up next weekend.  Anything except being content with what God has given you.  Temptation always promises peaceful escape.  But then it withers you.

Temptation is so isolating.  Alone with the devil, what’s scarier than that?  But that’s exactly where you find yourself when you embrace porn, or control, or addiction, or worry.  The past is broken.  The present is uncertain.  The future is scary.  And the weight of the world is on your shoulders to do something about it, because nobody else will…or at least that’s what Satan tells you.

What a Savior you have!  Jesus was tempted in every way, as you are, yet was without sin.  Jesus stood tall when Satan tried to deceive him.  Jesus saw right through all of the world’s empty promises.  And when he was isolated with Satan, Jesus trampled that snake into the dust.  His past is sturdy.  His present is peaceful.  His future is magnificent.

And then the best part – you know that gold medal Jesus earned by defeating Satan?  He smiles and places it around your neck.  You are never isolated.  You don’t need anything extra.  You are living in the truth that Christ’s victory = your victory.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving me heaven.  When I arrive there, I’ll never be tempted again.  And as I’m waiting to go to the temptation-free zone, lead me not into temptation, but instead to our resounding victory.

Prayer (written by Martin Luther, about the words, “Lead us not into temptation”):

Preserve us in the evil hour, dear Lord, and in the time of hard testing.  Help us to see that we do not fight our battles against flesh and blood alone, but against the spiritual forces of evil, the devil and all his demons.  Give us strength in you and in your mighty power.  Shield us by faith in Christ, the conqueror, who has trampled the serpent under his feet.  Keep us safe in Jesus from every lie of our enemy, every false promise of this world, and every weakness of our sinful nature.

Now, Lord, remember those who are especially on our hearts.  (Personal requests may follow.)

And so we place into your care all who are struggling against great temptation.  Strengthen those who still stand.  Restore those who have fallen and given up.  And give us all your grace in this sad and uncertain life, that we may remain faithful to the end and receive the promised crown.   Amen.

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